The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. This extends beyond physical isolation to include tech habits, too. Zoom, in particular, has held significant influence in the new era of video conferencing.
Zoom existed long before COVID-19 took over but was not well-understood beyond a few select business circles. However, it skyrocketed in popularity as quarantine measures were imposed, forcing people all around the world to interact almost exclusively online. By the end of February 2020, Zoom had added more users than in all of 2019.
Following a brief honeymoon period in February and March – in which employees, students, and a variety of other users sang the company’s praises – skeptics began to decry the app’s many security vulnerabilities. From data gathering to unexpected events known as “Zoom bombs,” a variety of alarming incidents caused many users to think twice about the previously beloved app.
While Zoom remains popular, users now maintain a healthy sense of caution. The app can prove powerful for a variety of virtual interactions, but like any digital tool, it requires extensive security measures.
Don’t rely on the company’s recent upgrades to keep you safe. These improvements certainly help, but they aren’t guaranteed to eliminate all hazards. With a few precautions, it’s possible to take full advantage of Zoom while keeping related risks to a minimum. Don’t wait to implement these security essentials:
Stick with the Web Browser
Many people assume that Zoom is best utilized via its app. This option is certainly convenient, as it allows for streamlined scheduling, as well as the use of supplemental features like polls and whiteboards. Many users also appreciate the availability of live streaming via the desktop client and mobile app.
Unfortunately, Zoom’s helpful tools are accompanied by significant security concerns. Chief among these are problematic permissions that allow the company to collect extensive data. While Zoom assures users that it does not sell this information to third parties, the app previously sent select data to Facebook.
The web portal is a safer choice because it acts within an environment known as a browser sandbox. This provides a barrier to keep data protected, especially when compared to the app. Connecting via the browser can be confusing initially, but it’s possible to do so via web client links.
Beware of Fake Zoom Apps
Malicious players have fooled far too many unsuspecting users with fake versions of Zoom. These apps, despite looking a lot like the real deal, actually constitute malware. Even seemingly internet-savvy individuals can be fooled easily.
This represents yet another reason to avoid the app. If, however, you’re determined to use the mobile or desktop client, stick to the official Zoom website – or download directly from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.
Get a Handle on Password Protection
Strong passwords are as important on Zoom as they are for any internet account. The temptation to recycle passwords can be strong, but this dramatically increases susceptibility. A brand-new password is essential. This should contain a random string of letters and numbers – not words or phrases, which are easy to crack.
Your password, no matter how sophisticated, may not prove sufficient on its own. Even the best passwords can fail. Hence, the need for two-factor authentication (2FA), which adds another barrier to the login process. Zoom allows account administrators to enable 2FA for its client portal.
Limit the Sharing of Meeting Information
Every time a link to a Zoom event is shared, the potential for security issues increases significantly. For this reason, meeting information should only be available to confirmed participants. Never post meeting links on public social media pages. Unfamiliar users should be forced to request access – and should be vetted thoroughly before they’re granted entry.
Take Advantage of the Waiting Room
Zoom’s waiting room provides a valuable opportunity to screen all meeting participants before they enter virtual events. This helpful feature can dramatically reduce the risk of falling victim to Zoom bombs.
Don’t worry about participants being stuck in this virtual space; the room’s message and title can easily be adjusted to let approved users know they’ve reached the correct digital location. Furthermore, personalized messages can be sent to individual participants, as can general messages for all meeting attendees.
Seek Help from Computer Security Experts
As you implement the security measures outlined above, look to the NerdsToGo team to provide additional protection. We offer a variety of services designed to secure your devices and network. Our Nerds can help you determine whether your current security protocol is sufficient – and if not, we’ll pinpoint how it can be improved.
At NerdsToGo, we understand the concerns our customers face during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we provide virtual and phone-based services to improve remote work and school setups while minimizing contact. Get in touch today to learn more about our remote support services and business IT solutions.