2020 is coming to a close and no one could have possibly imagined the degree to which our lives would have changed. The Covid-19 pandemic sent the whole world into lockdown, forcing every workplace to make significant changes to their processes and workflow methods. Many jobs became remote and so relied heavily upon video conferencing software to maintain communication between colleagues.
Zoom has emerged as one of the most popular video conferencing platforms with the free subscription allowing for up to 100 participants to meet for 40 minutes at a time. Many businesses have opted to invest in the paid version and have transformed their company to working in an entirely remote capacity.
With its simple user interface, Zoom is relatively easy to use for business meetings, online classes or even a virtual get together. Unfortunately, the program also proved to be a little too easy for hackers to access and infiltrate both meetings and private account information. Many cases of dark web and security breaches were reported earlier in the year where thousands of Zoom accounts were hacked and private login information was sold on the dark web.
Zoom security risks
Video conferencing on Zoom helps us connect with employees, teachers and students or our loved ones whilst being at the comfort of our home. However, there are many security risks that we need to be aware of when logging into a video call.
Hackers have been known to steal login information, entering meetings unannounced and causing mass disturbances. Through the use of malware, cybercriminals can also spy on you through your camera which can result in severe repercussions for your privacy.
What is the dark web?
The dark web is just one layer of the internet (alongside the surface web and the deep web), however it is the layer in which illegal activity is most likely to occur. You cannot access the dark web via a regular search engine, instead you are required to download “TOR” or “The Onion Router”, which links to dark web sites.
It is very difficult for actions to be traced on the dark web, which is why cybercriminals use it as a forum to discuss illegal activity and plan crimes. The dark web is also often used as a marketplace in order to sell private information obtained by hackers through data breaches, such as Zoom login details.
Many security breach incidents have been reported in the past few months whereby hackers were able to acquire personal login details of thousands of Zoom accounts that had been sold on the dark web.
How to protect yourself whilst video conferencing
Now more than ever, it is important to be aware of the risks that video conferencing presents to your online security and privacy. It looks like Zoom is here to stay, which is why you should always keep in mind the following tips and tricks when chatting online:
Stay password protected:
It is highly recommended to make all your meetings password protected. Ensure that your arrangements are secure and that no one can enter your meeting without a password.
Protect your home network:
With more of us working from home, it’s important to ensure that your home connections are in tip-top security shape. Ensure that your Wi-Fi connection, router and systems are working to protect you from external breaches and network threats and always make sure to keep your firewall on while using the internet for video conferencing.
Checking meeting links:
Always check links before entering any meeting. Links may look legitimate but can prove to be malicious, and clicking on them can lead to a serious security breach. Try to attend only those meetings which are password protected and if you receive such suspicious looking links, ask the host to make a password embedded link and send it to you.
Use your webcam wisely:
To protect yourself from cyber spies, ensure you are not giving away any important personal details in the frame of your webcam. Avoid having your camera pointing directly onto an outside road and always make sure any documents containing personal details are hidden from view. Consider downloading a free background (from a reputable site) which will completely block any surrounding detail from your frame.
Stay one step ahead with security software
To be extra protected, it’s always a good idea to install trustworthy security software onto all of your devices. Doing so allows you to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and protects your personal details from prying eyes.
Many online security companies now also offer dark web monitoring as part of their packages. It’s an excellent idea to invest in this tool. If your information, including your Zoom login details, ends up on the dark web, you can then take the appropriate steps to mitigate any damage.
Bridget is a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne. She is a copywriter for Newpath Web and loves working with words of all shapes and sizes. When not playing around with punctuation and grammar, she enjoys travelling and curating her Spotify playlists.