Using Video Conferencing Applications and Software Safely this Festive Season

With the announcement of tier 4 restrictions across Scotland taking effect from Boxing Day, many of us will be turning again to video conferencing as an alternative to physically attending gatherings this New Year’s Eve. With the various platforms that are out there, ensuring that any interaction is safe and secure is as important now as at any time of the year.

There are many apps and video conferencing platforms available out there that allow us to connect to friends and families remotely to celebrate the festive season. Some of the more commonly used are Facetime, Skype, and Zoom, but there are a host of various applications out there.

Whilst many of the larger platforms have worked out some of the problems with these applications identified at the start of the pandemic, including ‘meeting bombing’ – when unsolicited participants or visitors would drop into meetings being hosted, we can still take steps to ensure whatever app or meeting platform we are using is as safe and secure as possible.

There are things that we can do to reduce the risk of security breaches when using video conferencing software –

Lock meetings with passwords – By locking meetings with passwords, and only permitting invited attendees to enter, we can ensure that uninvited guests stay out.

Avoid sharing meeting links with people who are not invited – Sharing the meeting link and password mean that anyone in receipt of this can attend. Only share with those you intend to interact with.

Know you can remove attendees from the meeting – This is a function that is available to the host on most video-conferencing software. If someone appears unexpectedly, you can remove them.

Remember that attendees can record meetings – remember that private chat can be included in this, as well as transcripts of the chat you have had (even privately).

Don’t share any personal information – Avoid sharing any information through chat on platforms and assume that the information could be visible to others.

The provider of the specific application or video conferencing platform can provide information on cyber safety when using their software.

If you have concerns about any consumer matter, you can contact on 0808 164 6000. We are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

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