With millions of people home due to Covid-19, the use of video conferencing has skyrocketed.
New users mobbed the popular video conferencing platform Zoom. In mere weeks, Zoom’s user base ballooned from 10 million, to almost 100 million.
But this explosion in growth revealed vulnerabilities in Zoom’s security. And Zoom’s founder and CEO Eric Yuan admitted his company wasn’t prepared for the flood of new users.
Usually Zoom’s security is not an issue. Businesses using Zoom’s software have IT departments that add security features to shore up the software. And long-time Zoom users know are seasoned pros at the software.
But the influx of new home based users don’t have IT departments or experience to keep them safe. They turned to Zoom as a quick fix while stuck at home, and they don’t know the ins and outs of the software.
Cyber hackers have seem the spike in usage. They’ve zeroed in on Zoom’s weaknesses. and the failures of new users to adjust privacy settings.
One New York mother found out this the hard way earlier this month.
Michelle, who declined to use her last name out of fear of another attack, said her 14-year-old daughter was recently “Zoom-bombed.”
You see, she was attending an online class when some boys initiated a cyber-attack.
According to Michelle, “First, the screens were completely black and they were saying all these anti-Semitic things, cursing them out. And then one boy suddenly stripped and was naked.”
Understandably, Michelle said her daughter was upset. “She was very embarrassed by it, and she just said, ‘I can’t talk about it,'” Michelle said.
The reality is, hackers are taking advantage of millions of new video conferencing users. And there is no question Zoom is taking the bulk of the hits for all the security issues users are having.
But, it doesn’t matter if you use Zoom, or another video conferencing software. Here is a list of security measures you must put in place:
Don’t make it public. Make sure your video conferencing room set up for private use only, not public. Hosts of the meeting should require a password to control who can access meetings.
Even if you are meeting with a large group, never share the meeting links on public social media posts such as Facebook. Instead, should provide links through a more secure method, such as personal email.
Next, once the meeting begins and everyone is in, lock the meeting to outsiders and assign a meeting co-host.
The co-host will be able to help control the situation in case anyone bypasses your efforts and gets into the meeting.
Host only sharing. Most video conferencing platforms allow you to limit screen sharing to the “Host Only.” This prevents anyone from taking over and sharing anything inappropriate.
For instance, if you are a teacher and are the only one presenting, you should be the only person able to share content with the group.
Finally, disable all file transferring, annotations, and the auto-save feature for chats. This prevents anyone who somehow gained unauthorized access from sharing information within the group.
Use the waiting room. Enabling the “Waiting Room” feature adds even more security. The waiting room lets you see who is attempting to join the meeting before you give them access.
This will prevent anyone you don’t know from being able to join the meeting.
By following these tips, you’ll create difficult hurdles for cyber hackers. The plan is to foil their attacks until they get frustrated and move on to easier prey.
So, while video conferencing remains the default working method for millions of people, make sure you’re protected. Consider these tips to stay safe – whether you’re using Zoom or a similar platform.