Press Release

October 7, 2021

Follow-up on newVoice Service Issues from 9-27

Thursday October 7, 2021.  3:00 PM EST.

The following is an explanation of what occurred during last week’s nationwide VoIP Service degradation and our plans for mitigating issues like this from occurring in the future.

VoIP & Network Interoperability

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology enables us to communicate using a telephone number no longer tied to your local central office, from anywhere in the world, from any device – IP office phone system, smartphone/tablet – with the only requirement being an internet connection. The greatest leaps in business communications have come due to the conversion from traditional voice services like Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) to VoIP.

NHC has been providing VoIP-based solutions to our customers for over a decade and we understand how critical these services are for your business. Thanks to its routing capabilities, cloud-based VoIP is far more reliable than traditional premise-based phone service and equipment. Its worthiness has been proven countless times by enabling businesses to stay in contact with customers, employees, and suppliers during the pandemic, and from devastating natural disasters like ice storms, hurricanes, and floods. It’s also less expensive and easier to manage which is why VoIP is the dominant method of business voice communications for millions of businesses worldwide.

However, VoIP and indeed IP communications in general, are vulnerable to network security breaches. In May, the Colonial Pipeline had a ransomware attack and was shut down until a multi- million-dollar payment was made.  It cut off gasoline to the entire Mid-Atlantic of the US for three weeks.  A quick Internet search of Ransomware, Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches for 2021 will tell you that these incidents occur to all types and sizes of businesses and organizations.  NHC offers a variety of network security solutions to monitor, filter and block malicious attacks within our customer’s networks. What occurred last week was an attack of a national carrier that impacted every service provider in the country.

DDoS Attack on a National VoIP Carrier

No telephone network stands by itself, it must be connected to other carrier’s networks to receive calls from customers of other carriers and to make calls to another carrier’s customers. NHC’s newVoice VoIP network is tied to multiple underlying carriers to accomplish connectivity to any telephone number worldwide.  Last week, some of our VoIP customers experienced intermittent service problems including the inability to answer incoming calls and at other times complete outbound calls.   This was due to one of the nations largest wholesale VoIP carriers, Bandwidth.com, being hit with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.  It was the largest VoIP related attack in the US.  DDoS occurs when hackers deliberately flood a device, server(s) or network with so much data traffic in the form of incoming bogus messages, requests for connections or fake packets, and from multiple origination points, that the target becomes inoperable.  The hackers understood that Telephone Numbers (TN’s) can only reside with one single carrier.  When Bandwith.com was attacked, it disrupted the ability to route calls into our network and switching infrastructure and, at times for our customers who have been assigned Bandwidth.com TN’s, to complete outbound calls.   Every nationally provider of VoIP services was affected.  The service issues resided in Bandwidth.com’s network, not NHC’s. At no time was NHC’s newVoice VoIP network compromised.

NHC’s Response

First, we redirected all outbound calls to be terminated on other carriers. This enabled our customers who were not using Bandwidth.com TN’s to continue to make and receive calls without service degradation.  Secondly, we worked very closely with Bandwidth.com to track and run down every trouble ticket incident. We continuously posted updates on our Service Status Page. Lastly, we worked with individual customers to mitigate some of the calling issues even though we were unable to port numbers away from Bandwidth.com due to the attack.

VoIP TN Mitigation

NHC does not rely on one underlying carrier to supply telephone numbers but uses multiple top tier upstream carriers to ensure continuity for our customers.  Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that TN’s from other providers will not experience malicious attacks to their networks.  To mitigate this, NHC can work with you to do the following:

  • For new installations, we assign your published telephone numbers to (2) or more underlying carriers.
  • If you experienced issues with your phone service last week, we can port some of your published TN’s to another carrier for added redundancy.
  • We do not recommend porting out of all TN’s to another single carrier – there is no guarantee that the host carrier will not also encounter security issues in the future;
    • Carriers that have had security breaches and recovered are more likely to have undergone extensive network cleaning and filtering to mitigate future attacks.
  • We also recommend the use of toll free 800 numbers to easily forward inbound traffic to another location or carrier-provided TN.

If you have any questions or wish to engage us to help you with your voice, data service and security mitigation needs, please contact Customer Service here or by calling (855) 600-4NHC 

NHC Senior Leadership