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Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet meetings became the new normal for workers around the world to meet with their colleagues. Data shows that 30% of organizations worldwide started using web conferencing solutions for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s more, data shows that video conferences are here to stay as 92% of business owners report that they are planning to increase digital communication channels in their companies even if restrictions are starting to ease around the world. Plus, 4.5% of US adults reported using live video apps to connect with their loved ones.

Remote conferences and video meetings with tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or Skype are becoming popular means for people to use at work and in their personal lives to stay connected with their work peers or loved ones.

However, while video-conferencing tools are easy to use and they have been an innovative and handy solution for the impossibility of holding in-person meetings, they aren’t risk-free. They are all exposing organizations and the average users to significant protection and privacy risks.

We have a few tips on how to pay attention to the privacy and security settings to keep your data private and secure from the ill-intentioned Internet users when using your Mac device for video conferences.

Encrypt Your Internet Connection

Challenge: Work-from-home is just a way of saying that you’re working remotely. Sometimes, you may take video calls or host virtual meetings through unsecured WiFi networks like that of a public cafe or hotel because you may be on the go, be it for a business trip or a personal matter.

Problem: The problem here is that these networks are usually unencrypted, leaving your data exposed to all ill-intentioned eyes on the Internet. Unsecure Internet connections can reveal your private information to hackers and cybercriminals using packet sniffing or man-in-the-middle attacks.

Solution: Using a Mac VPN, you can redirect data through an encrypted tunnel, so all your data is encrypted, allowing you to use public WIFI safely. Virtual private networks can encrypt Mac users’ information and prevent ISPs from seeing all their online activity.

Set passwords for your meetings

Challenge: Unwanted participants can join the meeting if there’s nothing to stop them from pressing the “join” button. This can lead to hijacking, a cybersecurity problem that allows an intruder to take control over a session between a server and the end client. 

Problem: Not protecting your video conferences from unwanted participants may allow everyone who knows about your meeting to join it. This can result in leaked data or can invite other cyber risks such as having the video conference recorded.

Solution: The best solution to ensure that only invited attendees actually join the meeting is to set a password for the session. 

Lock “the door”

Challenge: When the whole team gathered in the meeting room back in the days, if you didn’t want anyone else from the office to overhear your conversation or join you, you’d close the door, right? Well, now, when you’re holding your meetings online, the risk of having uninvited participants still exists, and it’s even more challenging to control.

Problem: Again, having unwanted participants in your meeting can open the door to plenty of other cybersecurity risks. For example, cybercriminals can use the chat feature and the fact that everyone’s attention is directed to the meeting to spread malicious links. 

Solution: Another protection layer you can add to your video conferences is to lock the meeting once every invited person has joined the meeting. Once the attendees you were expecting in your session have joined, before actually starting the discussion, go to the “Manage Participants” button, then click more. There, you’ll have the “lock” option, which will basically lock your meeting, preventing others from joining.

Ask participants to wait in the waiting room

Challenge: If you’re holding a video conference that will include many participants, it is best to take your time to screen everyone before accepting them in the meeting. This gives you more control over how secure the session will be.

Problem: Simply allow anyone to join the meeting without waiting for your confirmation can invite cybersecurity risks in. An ill-intentioned Internet user could join your session for other purposes that may put you and the other participants’ data in danger.

Solution: Use the “Waiting room” feature of the video conferencing tools which allows you to see who wants to join your meeting and decide when you allow them to join your session.

Don’t share files

Challenge: Share-filing features in video conferencing tools may allow for malicious content to be sent to all of the meeting’s participants. In fact, the file-sharing feature is so untrustworthy that even the Zoom app has disabled it, justifying that it did so because of a potential security vulnerability.

Problem: When sharing files on such video conferencing apps, your files could end up in the wrong hands due to the unencrypted nature of some of these tools. Plus, if you ask your participants not to use the feature, but you still receive a file on the video conferencing app, it may be a file containing malicious content, which could mess with your Mac’s performance and security.

Solution: Instead of sharing the documents you discuss in your meeting using the video conferencing app, use file-sharing tools that are more secure and trusted. For example, Dropbox and Google Drive are both popular file-sharing tools thanks to all their security features. 

Bottom line

Internet security is now more important than ever because with the increased time spent online and the increasing possibilities using technology comes greater risk.

Mac users need to pay extra attention to cybersecurity risks that exist out there because there are many ways in which they can lose data, from downloading files to exchanging files and holding video conferences without considering privacy and security.