IT Security

Secure Video Conferencing

Many of us who had little to no video conferencing experience were forced to learn on the fly during the pandemic. We hastily set up workstations and fumbled through the process of installing webcams and video conferencing apps, and then it was go-time. Once our technology is functional, it is unlikely that we will go back and review our productivity apps to be sure that we are maximizing them for effectiveness and security- so let’s go ahead and do that! It is possible that your video conferencing practices that you established mid-crisis are not working for you as best they could. The following are tips to ensure that your video conferencing tools are set up for effective and safe communication:

Starting rights and chat. Be sure that the host has the authority to control the official start of the meeting. If guests have the option to start chatting as soon as they arrive, or to chat while the video conference is in progress, malicious files or links could be shared. This is particularly concerning if the meeting is forwarded and unapproved or unknown guests are attending. Enabling the waiting room feature will allow the host to hold guests until they are granted access to the conference room. Once a quorum is reached, lock the meeting to prohibit unauthorized attendance.

Unique meeting IDs. Reusing meeting IDs may be convenient for hosts to share, but it also makes video conferences more vulnerable to meeting bombers/squatters who can crash your meeting and share unwanted and unwelcome words and images. Be sure to set a new meeting ID for each meeting to avoid this security threat.

Meeting password. Adding a meeting password adds security to your video conference, and it is especially recommended if your meeting contains important and/or sensitive information.

Virtual background. Enabling virtual backgrounds and background blurring features protect privacy and they also help attendees to remain focused on the content of the meeting rather than the content of colleagues’ homes.

Encryption. Select a video conferencing provider that offers end-to-end encryption (E2EE) of video and audio. Encryption is an algorithm that scrambles the signal while it is idle and when it is in transit over the internet, and only the participating end-users have the security key to unlock the data to view it. E2EE video conferencing solutions cover the entire service including forward-facing conference rooms, underlying architectures, and equipment such as webcams and microphones.

Keep software up to date. With organizations using many different kinds of video conferencing solutions and on many different types of devices, it is likely that users have installed more that one. It is important to keep track of what you have downloaded, to be sure that it is still needed, and if it is needed, to be sure that it is consistently updated with the latest security updates. Outdated and unused apps are favorites of cyberattackers who seek out these flaws in order to gain access to your devices.

Browser-based solutions. Consider browser-based video conferencing solutions that do not require downloading and installing software and keeping it updated. This allows your device to be free from maintenance and limits vulnerabilities.