With COVID-19 concerns canceling face-to-face meetings, be aware of the security risks of videoconferencing and how to easily overcome them
As a way of controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries have been forced to impose a lockdown on its citizens bringing normal operations to a near stand-still. Consequently, a considerable percentage of the working population has turned to remote working, a chunk of it for the first time.
This has spiked up the demand for video conferencing services, chat systems, and online collaboration tools to serve the increasing number of students, employees, and teachers, among other experts working from home.
By 11th March 2020, Kentik―a San Francisco network operator— had achieved a 200% increase in video traffic within the provided working hours in Asia and North America. Even before the start of the official lockdown in California.
In the same vein, the UK Prime Minister chaired a cabinet meeting via zoom, which communicated the government’s appeal for social distancing through the use of video conferencing. His actions, however, brought about several questions regarding the security of the communication.
But with a quick rejoinder, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre pointed out that such communications shouldn’t cause any worries if they are below particular classifications. Accordingly, companies have developed confidence in the technology; therefore, are utilizing it to communicate with their remote workers.
Nevertheless, as an employee (or typical user), you need to understand the technology’s built-in security options, as well as control features before using it. Here we provide you with some primary considerations. Let’s dig in!
Your immediate surroundings
For you to realize a smooth and quality video conferencing experience, it is essential to cordon off your working space to prevent in kind of interruptions that might occur while in session; for instance, from your kids, better half, or even pets.
Besides, ensure that your working area is devoid of any sensitive or confidential information/material that can be captured by the camera.
As you may be aware, a lot of video conferencing platforms allow the creation of multiple user groups to enable the providence of internet domain according to specific criteria; for instance, the use of company email address to join a video call.
Or offer access to a limited number of people whose email addresses have been invited or scheduled for a call.
As such, when creating a meeting, you can enable the set a meeting password option that creates a randomly generated code for your invitees to input before joining a conversation. Similarly, you can authenticate those using phones by the use of a numerical password. However, avoid embedding the password in the meeting link.
As an organizer, you can hold your participants in a “waiting room,” as you approve them one by one, which gives you full control over whom to allow or deny access. In case you have a large conference, you can delegate such duties to your trusted attendees.
File transfers and communication over the net
As a rule of thumb, always ensure that your end-to-end communication is encrypted. Do not assume that this option is the default for video calls since a few services may require you to request encryption.
If the third-party endpoint client software is permitted, ensure it abides by the requirements of the end-to-end encryption.
What’s more, consider limiting the types of documents you can send across the net; for instance, avoid transferring executable files.
Manage the attendees, as well as the engagement process
Often, your attendees will be distracted by notifications, pop-ups, and emails, among other things, when attending your conference calls. Therefore, as a host, you can request notification from your service provider if your conferencing client isn’t the primary or active window (depending on your platform). For instance, if you are a tutor, you can use this feature to get the attention of all your students.
You can also monitor those who joined the call by downloading the attendee list at the end of the call. Or request attendees to register before being connected.
Limit screen sharing capabilities
As the host, the sole responsibility of controlling screen sharing remains only yours, unless you delegate it to someone else that you trust. This eliminates any chances of an individual sharing content by mistake.
Importantly, only share the required application rather than the whole desktop when screen sharing. This is informed by the fact; even the name of a file or Icon can divulge sensitive company information.
In case you require more advice and endpoint client software for your video conferencing needs, then ESET has been here for you for over 30 years. We want to assure you that we will be here to protect your online activities during these uncertain times, too.
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