How to safely use remote meeting tools

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the way in which we work in such a short period of time. As such cybercriminals have seized the opportunity to launch various attacks on unsuspecting users of meeting platforms.

Regardless of which video conferencing tool you use, it is necessary to implement measures to ensure that only invitees gain access to the meeting. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Use trusted platforms to obtain software and applications: Always download software from official vendor websites. Only download apps from the Google Play, Amazon App Store, Microsoft Store, and IOS App Store. Although these app repositories are not 100% secure from malware, it is a much safer option than unofficial sources.  
  • Do not fall for fake apps: Attackers are launching fake apps to mimic legitimate apps. These fake apps contain malicious files which can cause harm to devices and attempt to steal sensitive user information. Make sure you use legitimate applications from trusted websites. The official website for Zoom is zoom.us. An attacker may try to mimic the Zoom website by making a fake website such as Zo0m.us. Be careful of this. To check if a website is legitimate, use the following web tool: https://www.urlvoid.com/
  • Use the online version of the meeting software if possible: According to Kaspersky, some client apps have flaws that can allow intruders to access your web camera or microphone without permission, along with other intrusive behavior. Using the web-client will make sure that you retain permission to access your web camera or microphone.
  • Update your software: Be sure to update your software to the latest version provided by the official software provider. If you do not update your software, your personal security and your devices may be at risk. More information on updating software can be found in the following security tip from the Get Safe Online (Guyana) website: https://www.getsafeonline.gy/software/software-updates/
  • Securely configure video conferencing accounts:  This can be implemented by using a unique and complex password for the video conferencing account. More information on creating a strong password can be found in the following security tip from the Get Safe Online (Guyana) website: https://www.getsafeonline.gy/protecting-your-computer/passwords/#
  • Create a new meeting ID for each meeting and avoid sharing personal meeting IDs.
  • Create a unique password for each meeting
  • Do not mix up a meeting password with your account password: Some software has a feature of protecting meetings. Do not use the password for your account as the password for a meeting. This can give attackers access to your account.
  • Share meeting IDs and passwords privately with each participant using their email address or some other private means.  Use an alternative method to share a meeting password. Do not use social media to share meeting links. This allows criminals to easily join meetings.
  • Use a waiting room: This is a virtual staging area that prevents meeting invitees from joining before the host is ready.
  • Verify the identity of each participant before admitting them to the meeting. This is an added layer of security to prevent non-invitees from gaining access to your meeting even if they manage to gain access to the meeting ID and password. This works best for meetings with few attendees but may be a bit cumbersome for meetings in excess of 12 participants.  
  • Consider using the Lock Out Time feature: This allows you to prevent persons from joining the meeting after it has started although they may have the meeting ID and password. This works best for meetings with few attendees and relies on all attendees joining the meeting on time.

References

  • (n.d.). Retrieved from UC Berkeley: https://security.berkeley.edu/resources/cybersecurity-and-covid-19/settings-preventing-zoom-bombing
  • Shaw, K. (2020, April 7). Do’s and don’ts of videoconferencing security. Retrieved from computerworld: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3535924/do-s-and-don-ts-of-videoconferencing-security.html
  • Team, K. (2020, April 8). 10 tips for Zoom security and privacy. Retrieved from Kaspersky: https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/zoom-security-ten-tips/34729/
  • When Coronavirus Causes You To Meet Differently: 6 Tips For Making The Most Of Remote Or In-Person Meetings. (2020, March 15). Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2020/03/15/when-coronavirus-causes-you-to-meet-differently-6-tips-for-remote-or-in-person-meetings/#3c11e4c555a6