14 May Silvertoad’s Guide to Online Video Conferencing Safety & Security
Posted at 10:00h
You may have seen coverage in the news of the potential security flaws of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, including where the Prime Minister shared his meeting ID!
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, most of the country – and even the world – is now working from home. Alongside that, many video conferencing companies have seen a boom in sales, with more people taking business meetings via video call.
Popular platforms include Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. We, at Silvertoad, use the latter two, with no issues and great connectivity, however we are undertaking certain steps to preserve our security with these platforms, and we’d like to share these with you!
With Zoom currently in the negative limelight of the news, it still remains one of the most popular video platforms during the pandemic. Incidents include unintentionally open meetings and sharing unsolicited content. Whilst it has faced such scrutiny, we and many businesses still see the benefits of using such a platform.
The site is perfect for companies who don’t have top secret information, but we believe the big-guys like the Government should have brought in the experts to check out their security before holding conferences with such confidential information!
Online video conferencing is easy to use, inexpensive, reliable and convenient. Zoom has some resources for school administrators to help them get started as lots of people are teaching online for the first time, and we’re all under a little more stress than usual.
We’d suggest the following steps to keep your video calls secure:
If you’re hosting the meeting…
1. Select the option for the platform to automatically generate a meeting code, rather than using your personal ID.
This means it will be completely random, and hard for non-invited users to guess and “Zoom Bomb”.
2. Set passwords on your meetings
A password on your meeting will ensure only those who know the password AND the meeting ID will be able to gain access, just be careful who you distribute this to!
3. Enable Waiting Room
This will mean that you, the host, will be able to see the user’s screen name, and they have to request to enter. You can either approve or deny the request to join the call, meaning you only allow users you’re expecting, in!
4. Disable Screen Sharing, if you’re not planning on using it.
Whilst screen sharing is a very useful tool to use, sometimes those who aren’t as technologically advanced can accidentally share things, overtaking the meeting, and potentially exposing sensitive information they may have on their screen.
5. Remove a user if you have to
You can kick a user out of your call if you need to! Click Click Manage Participants at the bottom of the Zoom window. Next to the person you want to remove, click More. From the list that appears, click Remove and confirm.
If you’re an attendee of the meetings…
1. Don’t use chats for private messaging
If a meeting is being recorded, the host will receive all chatlogs used throughout the call! If you need to privately message another user, the best bet is to contact them on another platform.
2. Don’t share personal information if you’re online with people you don’t personally know
This is the case with any online platform, you should be careful who you share information with, and if you can avoid it online then do. Video conferencing meetings can also be recorded, and you won’t have control of where that recording might go.
3. Remember you have the option to mute yourself and turn off your video
If these tools aren’t needed, or you’re on a call with people you’re unfamiliar with, it might be a good idea to turn these features off. This can prevent accidentally recording conversations in your home (different devices can pick up different levels of sound).
4. Check your video background
Too many times, details have been accidentally exposed due to things being in the backgrounds of videos! This includes that bit of paper with your PC password, personal documents in eyesight, personal photographs, embarrassing objects or your cat in the background! If you really can’t help where you’re placed for your video conference, Zoom also has options for a “virtual background”, and Skype you can blur your background.