London, May 15 : Leakage of credit card and bank account details on the internet has been a regular scenario, but the latest entrant in this virtual world of identity frauds involves hackers tapping into voice-over IP telephony accounts.
Newport Networks, one of the major VoIP equipment makers has highlighted this new type of breaching of privacy on the Internet. In fact hackers are making big-bucks by selling the usernames and passwords from voice-over IP (VoIP) phone accounts for more than stolen credit cards.
With this information anybody can use the telephone service for free.
Net telephony fraud is still in the nascent stage and eavesdropping on calls is the most common security flaw.
However, Dave Gladwin, vice president of products at Newport Networks, thinks that this new trends of stealing usernames and passwords which are routinely sent across the network when a call is made is quite worrying.
"It is still at an embryonic stage but as voice adoption increases it becomes more of a problem and needs addressing," BBC quoted Gladwin, as saying.
These details are not sent as plain text, but are encoded in such a way as to be "easily captured and unobscured", said Gladwin.
While one can get credit card details by paying around 12 dollars each, VoIP account details fetch a slightly higher price, at 17 dollars.
This problem is less bothersome for businesses, which routinely offer voice-over IP services for their employees as users are tied into a secure corporate network.
However, in case of consumers, relying on public or unsecured home wi-fi networks, this can pose as a threat.
"90 pc of carriers don't offer a secure VoIP service," said Gladwin.