The coronavirus pandemic is keeping a lot of people at home and they are heavily relying on the Internet to continue working. Video conferencing apps became among the top choices for many workers to keep in touch with their colleagues and maintain some sort of their previous work habits and culture.
And while video conferencing apps are indeed a great way to communicate, they have their own sets of risks. Especially right now, when they are heavily used and many people neglect basic security rules. Then there’s also the fact that hackers are well aware of the increased use of these apps and are actively trying to find out more ways to exploit them.
It’s also not helping that there were plenty of reports about security issues with popular apps like Zoom. Some, more creative hackers are also actively finding out ways to hijack messages, clone identities to gain access to chats, recordings and many more. As such, it’s important to keep your video conferencing apps well secured. Here are a few tips how to do that with relative ease.
Mind the settings
Many of these video conferencing apps prioritize the ease of connecting. This means their security settings are on the low end. For example, their rooms might be open to anyone with the link or the apps might allow a simple entry by browsing available virtual rooms.
This is why you should spend some time before setting up the meeting to explore all of the security features and options of your chosen app. Make sure you tighten down the hatches. Yes, this may make joining the online meetings a bit more cumbersome, especially if they are with tens of participants, but this is the way to keep everyone safer.
Avoid free consumer software
It’s tempting to use free consumer apps to hold your work meetings. Especially for SMBs which are on a tight budget and, especially right now, have to be mindful of their spending.
Despite that, it’s much better to use a service which is geared towards business users. Many such services right now are offering long free trials to help out the industry and to hopefully eventually convert more of them into long time customers. Plus, these apps provide more security features and that’s exactly what you need.
Tighten the rules
Avoid sharing the link to the meeting on social media and mass emails. Instead, send it just to the people that have to be in the room. If it’s a meeting with tens of people, use the company email and specifically ask everyone not to share the link with anyone.
Also, enable password protection when joining rooms. Some apps do have that feature. This means you will also have to send the pass and room number/name, but it makes it difficult for hijackers to simply discover the room and join in on their own.
Another way is to enable the waiting room feature. Some apps allow participants to be held in a virtual room and only the host can review them and select who to add. This way the risk of an outsider joining in is reduced.
Beware of who you talk to
It’s like our moms told us: “don’t talk to strangers”. If you’re relying heavily on online calls with potential clients and business partners, then keep an eye out for potential signs that this person is actually who they say they are. It’s possible that it’s a hacker relying on social engineering to get valuable company or personal info. Avoid using video calls during such meetings or at the very least, opt for neutral backgrounds like a plain wall or a blurred background to avoid possible snooping on your office or personal space.
Do you need recordings?
Most apps offer the ability to record the meetings and in many cases it’s turned on by default. This is great for employees who weren’t able to join to catch up. It’s also useful to refresh your memory. But if you’re going to discuss sensitive info then it would be best to turn the recording off for this session, just to be on the safe side.
Of course the classic “there’s no 100% safety guarantee” still rings true. Despite that, there’s plenty you can do to lower the risks significantly. The tips above should be handy to achieve exactly that.