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Call Security Risks Remain High for Emergency 911 Call Centers

Jun 8, 2022

Our nation’s 9-1-1 Centers typically integrate their 10-Digit, non-emergency lines into their 9-1-1 call handling systems. This integration provides the 9-1-1 call taker the ability to quickly dispatch assistance, if required, as well as providing the ability to document the call. The majority of 9-1-1 Centers lack the ability to protect these non-emergency or ‘admin lines’ from TDoS attacks and Robo callers. While other industries, such as the financial sector, have long used voice firewalls to protect their call centers, 9-1-1 centers are only now beginning to see the importance of protecting their call takers from these distractions and operational threats.

9-1-1 Center staff have the responsibility to ensure that every call, whether 9-1-1 or admin line, is answered promptly. Voice firewalls represent a valuable tool to ensure robocalls (e.g. selling extended car warranties) do not make their way into the Centers call queue, tying up staff who are typically overburdened handling normal requests from the public.

SecureLogix maintains a database of these ’robocalls’ and provides constant updates to the onsite firewall. These known ‘bad calls’ are automatically blocked.

TDoS attacks against 9-1-1 center admin lines are also increasing nationwide. These attacks represent a real threat to any center’s operations. There are cases when bad actors will dial a 9-1-1 Center’s admin lines thousands of times. These attacks can last for minutes, hours or in some cases, days. Installing a voice firewall allows you to set thresholds before blocking any call. For example, if a 10-digit number calls your center more than 10 times in a minute, the firewall can be configured to automatically block the caller and provide center staff immediate notification. The blocking threshold is defined locally. 

Another option is for staff to either manually enter a specific 10-digit number and block it, or call the SecureLogix Help Desk and request that they block a specific number. Your Center has total control over call blocking and can ‘unblock’ any number on demand.

SecureLogix has been a major player in the Public Safety sector for several years, successfully installing  voice firewall ‘managed service’ in 9-1-1 Centers across the country. We understand the critical mission of 9-1-1 Call Centers and are here to help you establish a ‘voice cybersecurity’ posture to help protect your center against bad actors.

In our next blog post, we will review recent attacks and how our voice firewall solution has protected centers from becoming victims of attack.

Chuck Spalding
Former NG9-1-1 Director, Palm Beach County, Florida
Subject Matter Expert to DHS CISA