With many of us locked down in our own homes, it can feel as though almost the whole world has stopped in its tracks amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, just because we are dealing with a global issue as serious as the virus, does not mean that some ill-wishing individuals will simply stop trying to access your private data and cause havoc. In fact, in some cases, these people are even more active because we no longer have the safety of protected company networks and policies to rely on. It now falls to us to keep our data secure and when it comes to online meetings, it is unfortunately all too easy for someone to gain access into your call if you have not set it up correctly. Below are a few things you should do that will help to prevent any unwanted visitors from coming in and disrupting your meeting.
Take control over who can join
Virtual meetings are usually set up using a link or code that is shared with any invited members, they then simply click on the link or enter the code and are brought directly into the meeting. The simplicity of this method of inviting people is why it is by far the least secure and makes it relatively easy for unwanted participants to enter. If you send the link out to a large group of people, the intruder just needs to ask around and pretend that they lost their link, people will likely forward it to them and just like that, your meeting is compromised. To prevent this from being an issue, try to send the link only to people who will definitely be attending, and be sure to tell them not to share it out themselves. If anyone needs access, they should be coming only to you for the link, this will allow you to control who has it and who does not.
Another step you can take is to lock down the call once all the intended members have joined, this will prevent anyone else from coming in and interrupting after you have started.
Use a virtual background
In the event that someone does manage to slip through your security precautions and gain access to your meeting, you may want to hide your personal space away from prying eyes. In the past, people have used physical barriers and green screens, but thanks to modern technology, a service like Hello Backgrounds offers virtual backgrounds to help you keep your private life private. Whether you have sensitive information in view, have children, or significant others walking around behind you, or even if you just want to keep your personal space personal, there are plenty of backgrounds to choose from that integrate directly into applications like Zoom. This feature is fairly new but has quickly become practically a necessity for anyone attending virtual meetings due to how effectively they protect your privacy and prevent distractions from affecting the rest of the meeting.
Look at your call settings
Last but certainly not least, you will need to thoroughly check your call settings. Most virtual meetings have vulnerabilities that are easily exploited simply because the host and the participants did not take a few extra minutes to look over the call settings and make sure it was secure.
Before you attempt to host or even join any call or virtual meeting, be sure to take a look at your settings and change them to the most secure options available. If you are the host, it is always a good idea to uncheck the ‘Join before host’ option in order to prevent anyone from joining the meeting before you and potentially duping people into thinking they are the real host.
The advice in this article, while it may seem obvious, can be easily missed by anyone not used to attending or hosting video conference calls. A few simple checks and tools will take up very little time but could be the difference between business as usual and a catastrophic data breach. We advise that you pass on the information here to anyone else who frequently attends virtual meetings in order to keep as many people as protected as possible.