Have you ever considered holding an important business meeting in the middle of a crowded park where anyone can join you and say whatever they want? Or sharing sensitive info about your clients with people you don’t really know? This is exactly what happens when you use video conferencing platforms without thinking about security.
The recent worldwide lockdown means that many aspects of our lives are now happening online. We meet, brainstorm, teach and learn using the Internet. But along with internet-connected meetings come new risks we need to identify and avoid.
Up until March 2020, Zoom was just one of many remote-meeting apps; in December 2019 it saw an average of 10 million meeting participants daily. Over the course of March, the figure rose to 200 million meeting participants per day and in April it was 300 million, among them governments, schools and big companies. Zoom became one of the most recognizable and frequently used apps in the world. A huge rise in the number of users was also noted by GoToMeeting, another video conferencing software and Zoom’s direct competitor. This unprecedented level of online activity poses new risks, zoom-bombing being one of the most talked about.
Below we look at them and show you how to use those programs safely.
Zoom-bombing means crashing or interrupting a digital meeting by saying or showing things that are offensive, obscene or racist. It is usually conducted one by an anonymous intruder, who wants to cause chaos and disrupt a meeting in progress.
Since the first incidents occurred, Zoom has implemented a series of security updates to make their service safer. Some zoom-bombers have been arrested and many companies and educational institutions have banned Zoom and switched to different platforms. But Zoom-bombing can happen during meetings at any other video conferencing platform and as long as we are using them without appropriate security measures, we are all likely to experience it.
Zoom-bombing is just the tip of the iceberg of security issues associated with video conferencing. When hosting meetings online you can never be sure whether what you say is not being recorded by one of the participants or whether the information you share with your colleagues will not leak to the public. If you don’t verify who is taking part in the meeting, you cannot be sure who you are speaking to. And the topics discussed during video conferences are only as secure as the participants’ computers and Internet connections.
There are a few things you can do to increase safety of your calls.
Not every person interrupting your meeting is a cyber-criminal and generally speaking people who participate in video conferences don’t wish to cause trouble. But random files can be shared accidentally, or someone may make a comment that should not be heard by others. And zoom-bombers are there as well, compromising the safety of your conversations.
Video conferencing on such a scale is a relatively new phenomenon, as is zoom-bombing.
We all need time to get trained and learn how to use it safely to make the most of those fantastic platforms that allows us to work and have fun together online!