How to Make Video Conferencing Security Safer for Work & Family

How to Make Video Conferencing Security Safer for Work & Family

If you are working from home more than before, you need to improve your video conferencing security for numerous reasons. Your company’s information and your professional data need to be protected from cybercriminals. Because more people are working remotely, these criminals are deliberately trying to target home connections in an effort to steal sensitive information.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to get secure video conferencing that protects you, your business, and your family. By taking the following steps, you can stay safe when you are video conferencing from home.

1. Invest in Cybersecurity

While Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing platforms are designed to be safe, they can only be as safe as your system is. To start with, you should update all of your system’s software and keep it up-to-date. A good practice is to turn on the automatic updates for Microsoft and non-Microsoft software so your apps update right away.

Another important way to improve your cybersecurity is through a firewall. If you don’t already have this type of security, it is time to invest in one and turn it on. Windows 8 and Windows 10 come with automatic firewalls, so check to see if yours is switched on.

Likewise, your antivirus software is only effective if it is updated. For secure video conferencing, you should add antivirus software to your computer or mobile device as well. For Microsoft platforms, Windows Defender Security Center and Windows Security include antivirus software.

2. Protect Your Home Network

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are now targeting home networks because they know many people are working from home. If you want to protect your home, you have to prevent these criminals from accessing your internet connection.

To start with, you should set up a strong encryption password and a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN works to encrypt communications as they enter or leave your network. Even if criminals hack into your home wifi, they won’t be able to read the information.

If you are working from a cafe or public wifi connection, you should always use your VPN. They can be used anywhere you have an internet connection to help you video chat safely.

3. Be Wary of Zoombombs

While Zoombombs are a potential danger on Zoom, the same concept is an issue for other video conferencing platforms as well. All Zoom meetings are based around the idea of a 9-digit ID code. If someone guesses your identification number or has unauthorized access to it, they can disrupt your Zoom meetings.

Fortunately, you can protect your video conferencing security in a variety of different ways. The easiest way to prevent unauthorized access is by keeping your meeting ID private. If you post your ID in a public forum, anyone who sees it can end up at your Zoom meeting.

On Zoom specifically, you have the option to use a random ID instead of a personal ID. If you want a completely secure video meeting, you can require password access for all participants. You also have the option of enabling a waiting room, so people will have to remain in the waiting room until you allow them to join the meeting.

4. Get a Reliable Video Conferencing Service

Another way to improve your video conferencing security is by picking the right video conferencing service. When it comes to privacy, each video conferencing platform has a different level of privacy.

For example, GoToMeeting, Join.Me, Wire, Wickr, Miro, and Signal all get high rankings for privacy. Interestingly, many big-name competitors like Google Hangouts, Zoom, WhatsApp, and Microsoft Teams get fairly low privacy rankings without added security efforts.

As you work on your video conferencing security best practices, you should also look at the encryption level you use. With secure encrypted video conferencing, all of the messages you send and receive are encrypted when they are sent from each device. This encryption protects your communications, so they can’t be read if someone manages to access them.

Unfortunately, some video conferencing programs don’t use encryptions, making it crucial to choose the right one. Unless you use a VPN of your own, your communications on Google Hangouts won’t be encrypted. On the other hand, if you use Signal, Jitsi, Wire, WhatsApp, Wickr, or WebEx, you will automatically get to use end-to-end encryption.

5. Know What Is Genuinely Private

If you want to have the best video conferencing security, you need to know when your conference is private or not. Unfortunately, many Zoom meetings for work are inherently not private. Unless you are the host of the meeting, keeping video calls private is impossible.

At many workplaces, your boss is the host of the meeting. As the host, they can record the meeting in full to watch later on. They are also able to participate in the meeting whenever they want to.

While you can invest in better cybersecurity, you can’t really stop your boss from coming to a meeting when they are a host. Because of this, you should simply be careful about what you share or do during your meetings for internal purposes.

6. Protect Your Hardware and Software

Your video conferencing security is only as good as your computer system. Your software and hardware should be protected through 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protection. At least, in theory, this level of encryption is impossible to crack.

When these keys are used for secure video conferencing, you get extremely private, secure calls. If a supercomputer tried to break a 128-bit AES key, it would take an estimated one billion years.

7. Always Use Strong Passwords

Whether you are using a password for meeting access or simply to log into your account, you should set a strong password that isn’t easy to guess. If someone can easily predict your password, you can’t enjoy secure video conferencing.

You should also never repeat your passwords between different platforms and websites. In addition, they should be complex with a variation of at least 10 numbers, symbols, and letters. You should update your passwords regularly with a suggested amount of about once every quarter.

Obviously, remembering all of these passwords is almost impossible. Fortunately, there are password management applications you can use. Even browsers like Google Chrome can store your passwords for you.

8. Look at Your Social Media Settings

One of the video chat safety measures people forget involves their social media. Social engineering criminals know how most people post private information on social media. Through your social media profiles, criminals can figure out information like your favorite color or your mother’s maiden name.

Once they have this information, it becomes easier for them to hack into your accounts. Your pet’s name and mother’s maiden name are frequently used security questions, so a criminal only needs these answers to access other accounts. By sharing less information online, you can keep your data safer on other channels.

9. Watch Out for Malicious Links in Chat

If attackers manage to access your secure video meeting, they can do more than only see your chats. They can leave malicious links for chat members to click on. Then, these links lead you to sites where the attacker can take your credentials.

The best way to protect against this happening is by using video conferencing security in the first place. You should require passwords for all of your video chats regardless of how small or simple the meeting. As a general rule of thumb, you should also avoid clicking on suspicious links in any type of message whether it is email, chat, or beyond.

Improve Your Video Conferencing Security and Privacy

Thanks to modern technology, many jobs can be done remotely for at least part of the time. When you work from home, you no longer get to use your office’s secure computers and wifi connections. In order to promote video conferencing security, you have to use the right techniques and follow key procedures.

Getting a VPN or encrypted communications is one of the first things you can do for secure video conferencing. In addition, you should look at the video chat platform’s security measures and encryption. Finally, a strong password, private social media profiles, and updated software can also help to keep you safe.

Learn more ways you can maintain high-security measures across your devices by reading content on the Makios blog!

References: VPN Overview, WIRED