Blog: Securing your Online Meetings

With the convenience comes a danger of leaking secrets and Malware. Simple caution now prevents many headaches later.

As we have entered a new normal of working from home and remote meetings apps such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and games streaming sites like Discord and Twitch, the convenience is amazing. We can attend conferences, meetings and events all from safety of our homes. Virtual meetings saves time and travel costs while increasing efficiency.

With all this convenience also comes some danger:

  1. Who may be lurking in our online meetings?
  2. Are they trying to steal our most sensitive information?
  3. Are they recording our conversations?
  4. Can our system(s) get malware through these meeting apps?
  5. Is an internet troll causing havoc just because they can?

As of writing this blog April 2020, Zoom teleconferencing software is under attack. The FBI has received multiple reports that the conferences is being disrupted by pornography and not so good images / clips and even threatening language, “The FBI Cautioned“.

These problems aren’t unique to Zoom only, what is happening on Zoom can happen with many other virtual meetings software(s). There are 5 simple steps all of us should take to protect our online, virtual meetings and lives.

Below are the steps for protecting online meetings:

1. Knowing who is invited to connect

  • Invite only the people you want in you room.
  • If you have an open meeting or webinar, make attendees register and provide each with the room number and password.
  • Keep meetings and classes private.
  • Be very cautious when making meetings, teleconferences or classrooms public.

2. Lock the doors

  • Use “waiting room” feature to require attendees to request admission upon entry.
  • Use unique room number and or password on all meeting rooms.
  • Lock the room when everyone’s there.

3. Don’t accept candy from strangers

  • Be cautious with files shared over virtual meetings.
  • Know where you’re going on the Internet and what meetings/conferences/meet-ups you’re attending.
  • Scan everything for malware.
  • Just because your friend shares a link doesn’t mean it’s safe.

4. Share Carefully

  • Avoid linking your meeting apps with social media accounts.
  • Only the hosts and their designee should be allowed to share screens or content.
  • Do not share a link to a virtual meeting room on unrestricted social media sites.
  • Be aware of what you have open on screen when sharing your screen during the meeting.
  • Make sure it’s okay for anyone to see.

5. Whenever there is any doubt, ask!

  • Investigate if something doesn’t seem right.
  • Contact the meeting organizers directly through another channel, not the meeting application.
  • Be open when someone asks you to verify.

Internet is a dual-edged sword and it’s a great weapon. Handle it with care.

Teach others safe handling techniques.

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