Asterisk 13 Secures Open-Source PBX Communications for the Long Term

Open source Unified Communications technology gets new security and stability features.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Oct 22, 2014
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The open-source Asterisk project first emerged with a 1.0 stable release back in 2004, providing users with a feature-rich IP PBX platform. Today, ten years after that 1.0 release, Asterisk 13 is now out, providing users with improved security and stability for the long term.

The Asterisk 13 release is the first major update of the platform since Asterisk 12 in October of 2013. One of the big differences between Asterisk 13 and its immediate predecessor is that Asterisk 13 is a Long Term Support release, offering users four years of support.

Among the features included in Asterisk 13 is an improved security events framework. The Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI) is now integrated with security to alert administrators to security events. Alerts can be generated for invalid account ID access requests, authentication method errors and invalid passwords.

Another big security addition is support for the use of Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) for SSL/TLS data-in-motion encryption. An important addition, PFS enables the per-session creation of encryption keys. With regular SSL/TLS connections, a single private encryption key resides on the host server. PFS and its per-session key generation promise improved resiliency if any single key is ever somehow stolen or cracked. Multiple large web properties, including Twitter, now use PFS as a way to safeguard user privacy.

For improved performance, Asterisk 13 now also supports what is known as chunked Transfer-Encoding, which enables HTTP transfers in different pieces.

On the internationalization front, the integrated VoiceMail capability in Asterisk 13 now also supports the Japanese language.

"This application allows the calling party to leave a message for the specified list of mailboxes," the Asterisk features wiki explains. "When multiple mailboxes are specified, the greeting will be taken from the first mailbox specified."

While there are some incremental feature additions in Asterisk 13, the big focus is providing long-term stability for features that first debuted in Asterisk 12 back in October of 2013. Asterisk 12 introduced new REST API extensibility as well as support for WebRTC (RealTime Communications).

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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