Our Top Tips for Secure Video Conferencing

Content Writer

This year, people have more video calls than ever before. We use them for work meetings, to learn how to make mom’s special apple pie, and to have a drink with our friends. Even late-night TV show hosts are using them to interview their guests. We change our communication methods because we must adapt to the changing world. Unfortunately, with the growth of digital communication, cyber threats are also rearing their ugly heads. Here are a few tips you can use to stay safe on a video chat.

Cybersecurity risks in video conferencing

At the beginning of April, Zoom, one of the most popular video conferencing services, had a ton of security-related problems. Most of them revolved around poor encryption and data protection.

Zoom always stated that it offers end-to-end encryption. However, it turned out to be far from the truth. It only encrypts data in transit, and to make matters worse, the developers have encryption keys that allow Zoom to decrypt its users’ data.

Another problem Zoom had to deal with was so prominent it even has its own name — zoombombing. It’s a type of photobombing where hackers and regular internet trolls would get into people’s video conferences and post malicious links, pornographic images, or use obscene language.

Weak encryption combined with bugs in some of Zoom’s apps also led to 500,000 of its users’ credentials ending up for sale on the dark web. It doesn’t help that Zoom is known to collect and sell users’ data to third parties — without informing them about it.

Even though Zoom was quick to react and patch most of these vulnerabilities, new exploits are likely to arise all the time — both in Zoom and other video chat services. Therefore, you should always keep tabs on the latest cybersecurity news. Otherwise, you risk your private conversations, passwords, and business secrets ending up online.

What you can do to protect yourself

  1. Make sure to install the newest version of the app the moment it’s available. Updates include security patches that are vital if you want to stay safe online.

  2. Never share the meeting link or ID publicly — send it to the people participating in the call only. If your app allows it, set a password for your meeting. Need help with creating a strong password? Try our password generator.

  3. Utilize other features your video conference app offers. Some have a virtual waiting room where you can approve every person. Others allow you to disable participant’s cameras and microphones and even kick them out. Learn about all the features of your secure video conferencing software and how to use them to stay safe.

  4. Never accept video conference invites from people you don’t know. It might be a scam or a catfishing attempt, so it’s best to stay away from people you don’t know.

  5. Always be mindful of what you say and show during a video call. Remember, everything can be recorded, and you never know where it will end up. So, don’t share any information that’s too personal or sensitive. Look for safer methods to discuss business secrets.

  6. Even though many video conferencing apps offer encrypted video calls, you should still take additional safety measures and do some research. Make sure they don’t have any known vulnerabilities, the encryption protocols they use are bulletproof, and your own device is not infected with malware. If someone has control over your computer or phone, they will be able to listen in on your calls even with end-to-end encryption. Scan your devices regularly to make sure they are safe to use.

  7. Be careful with apps you never heard of. Only download them from official app stores, and always check whether the developer is trustworthy before installing it. Hackers are known to create fake versions of popular secure video conferencing software that infect your phone with malware.

  8. Usage of various video conferencing platforms is skyrocketing, and cybercriminals have their eyes set on them. Therefore, never reuse passwords, change them regularly, and come up with strong, complex passwords for your most sensitive accounts. If you need help remembering them — use a password manager to store them all safely.

  9. Use Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant video conferencing software to ensure the safe handling of sensitive health information. Considering that sometimes employees need to share their health data with people in other departments (e.g. HR), you should create a safe virtual environment where they can do that without worrying about security.

  10. Use only strong passwords, that is combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that are complex and unique enough to prevent cybercriminals or malicious machines from identifying them. Also, you should implement two-factor authentication to increase the level of cybersecurity at your company. With two-factor authentication, employees must provide more than just their password to log in to your company applications or access company data. This means, for example, that they will be sent a verification code via email or SMS, or asked to use their biometrics to confirm their identity.

CISA guide for securing video conferencing

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, has released a guide on how to carry out video conferences in a secure way. In essence, CISA has come up with four tips that, when followed, can help you safely connect with others over a video chat. They are:

  1. Make your network secure — Set up your router to use WPA2 or WPA3 wireless encryption standard, and create strong passwords for both the router and your Wi-Fi network.

  2. Control access to your video conferencing software — Create strict policies, processes, and procedures so that only the right people can use your video conferencing software.

  3. Create a secure environment for file and screen sharing — establish secure rules regarding the types of files that can be shared during a video conference. Also, if you want to make a recording of the meeting, let all participants know about that.

  4. Use only the latest versions of your applications — enable automatic updates and follow a patch management policy to make sure your applications are up-to-date and as secure as they can be.

Most Secure Video Conferencing Software

Here are what we consider to be the best video conference tools available on the market today. They are:

  1. ZoHo Meeting — a video conferencing platform that not only provides all the communication features needed to connect with other team members, but it also encrypts all audio, video, and screen sharing to make sure all information – both personal and business – is safe and sound. Using ZoHo Meeting, you can easily record your meeting and share it with the people you trust. Plus, as a host, you can “lock” the meetings so that they are fully private. This means you are in full control of who can join the meeting and be able to add/remove participants at any time.

  2. Microsoft Teams — Probably one of the most popular video conferencing tools available on the market, Microsoft Teams is a secure video conferencing service that comes with a wide range of features that can help you set up and carry out video conferences with ease. Not only does it allow you to connect with up to 10.000 people at once for a live event, but it also enables you to go from a group chat to a video conference with the press of just one button. This is convenience at its highest.

  3. Pexip — A video conferencing tool that makes security one of its highest priorities. With Pexip, you can set up PIN-protected virtual meeting rooms that allow you to keep communication private. As a host, you can see all participants taking part in the meeting and thus be sure that no eavesdropping is attempted. If you are looking for a secure video conferencing platform, you should give Pexip a go.

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