ATLANTA, GA. — The Georgia Tech Information Security Center, BellSouth and Internet Security Systems are forming a partnership to examine security issues with the ever-increasingly more popular Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

“At GTISC, we feel strongly that security should not be an after-thought with VoIP,” said Mustaque Ahamad, principal investigator and director of GTISC. “By partnering with proven industry leaders ISS and BellSouth, GTISC will be able to lead the research efforts necessary to better understand VoIP threats and explore techniques that are well suited for securing VoIP devices, protocols and services.”

VoIP is emerging as a very popular choice for both businesses and consumers who are looking to reduce traditional telephone costs and to incorporate more services.

Nearly 3 percent of U.S. households utilize VoIP telephone service, according to a survey released in July by research firm Telephia. That’s up from 2.1 percent as of March 31, and the market share does not include the growing number of people who utilize digital phone service from cable TV providers.

A team will conduct a security analysis of VoIP protocols and implementations plus VoIP authentication, mobile device security and other applications.

BellSouth and ISS will support the research effort with $300,000 in funding.

The two companies also will provide personnel who will work with Georgia Tech faculty and students to develop and evaluate solutions for improving VoIP security. In return, Tech will offer access to any resulting intellectual property.

The partnership is a result of discussions initiated at a security conference hosted by the GTISC in 2005.

“Internet Security Systems was one of the first security companies to provide coverage for VoIP protocols in our products,” said Christopher Rouland, chief technology officer at ISS. “We look forward to working with experts at GTISC and BellSouth to further our understanding of VoIP vulnerabilities and how best to mitigate them for our customers.”

Added John Heveran, BellSouth’s chief information security officer: “BellSouth is committed to ensuring security is an integral component in all our products and services and working with GTISC and ISS is one way to continue that focus with next generation products such as VoIP.”

Georgia Tech Information Security Center: