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Vladimir Toncar (Kerio)

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Kerio Operator 1.1.0 Beta 2 has been released today.

This post provides information about the new features in version 1.1.

1. Protection against SIP password guessing

With Kerio Operator 1.1, the development team's primary focus is security. The protection against SIP password guessing is essential if your PBX is accessible from the internet and you cannot restrict the the range of allowed IP addresses using the built-in firewall. This is the case if you have mobile clients, ie. your users run SIP softphone apps on their smart phones.

This feature is easy to configure: you set the allowed number of password failures per your chosen time interval (for example 3 failures a day). If an IP address exceeds the limit, it will be blocked for some period of time (like 1 day). Once the IP address is blocked, Kerio Operator will keep responding in negative to each subsequent registration attempt from the given IP address (even if the password happens to be correct) and will adjust the duration of blockage with each attempt.

2. Stopping the PBX if an anomalous behavior is detected

Even if you are protected against password guessing, it may still happen that the password of some of your extensions will be compromised (through social engineering, someone's workstation was infected with a virus/keylogger, etc.). As soon as the SIP password is in the hands of the bad guys, they will start generating calls to various expensive destinations.

The simplest protection is to block the expensive destinations in call permissions. But you cannot always do that. For example, you need to allow international calls to at least some countries. Even at a national level, there are still many expensive destinations.

So, what do you do to reduce the risk? Our solution is to let the administrator describe what call patterns are still considered normal. What is the maximum standard number of calls per hour or per day for various destinations? What are your usual call durations? The result is a set of counters that monitor the behavior of your PBX. When a counter exceeds its limit, you can alert the administrator and/or stop the PBX. Once you stop the PBX, you stop loosing money, and are able to diagnose the situation and fix problems (change passwords, tighten your security policy, etc.).

3. Allowing multiple registrations of the same extension

Kerio Operator 1.0 allows you to assign multiple extensions to a user. We would like to take one additional step in 1.1 and allow multiple registrations of one extension. With just one extension number, the user would still be able to use multiple phones. The extension would work like his/her own personal ring group.

4. Various PBX voice services

Kerio Operator 1.1 supports several standard voice services like dial-by-extension, dial-by-name, echo, current time, recording voice prompts over the phone. In addition to this, the Auto Attendant also supports dial-by-extension, so menus like "Press 1 for Sales, press 2 for Support, or dial your party's extension" become possible.

5. Improved NAT support

Kerio Operator 1.0 is not strong in several NAT scenarios, so we needed to improve the NAT support. It should be possible now to have Kerio Operator in the public network and phones behind firewall, or Kerio Operator in the private network and some of the phones in the Internet (e.g. mobile SIP clients), etc.

6. Auto-provisioning support for Polycom phones

You can provision many SIP phones manually but auto-provisioning makes deployment of phones much easier. Polycom is the brand we were asked most frequently to support. Polycom conference units are supported as well.

7. Call queue improvements

Some of you asked for the possibility to send a call to another number if its waiting time in the queue exceeds a defined limit. Kerio Operator 1.1 allows that.

We have also added the 'linear' queue strategy. This strategy means that agents are always tried in a fixed order. This is useful if you have one main receptionist who is backed up by two or three other people who pick up incoming calls when the main receptionist cannot respond.

8. Uploading of custom voice prompt sets

We were asked to support voice prompts in a number of languages like Danish, Swedish, Dutch, French, Italian. Even our English speaking customers would like to be able to change the default voice prompt sets. The solution in Kerio Operator 1.1 is simple: The administrator will be able to upload archive files with voice prompts. The localized sets of prompts for Asterisk are already available in many countries.

We are looking forward to getting your feedback!

Happy Operating!

Vladimir Toncar
product development manager for Kerio Operator

[Updated on: Wed, 29 June 2011 09:30]

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