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How to Keep Hybrid Work Video Conference Safe

Updated: Jul 28


Keeping video conferences safe is one of the top priorities of businesses especially during this era of hybrid work , hybrid learning, and wfa. These relatively new office work models are here to stay and some practices might need a little more enhancement than others. Meetings discuss sensitive and confidential information such as trade secrets, salary, contracts, financial status, etc. Video conference setups tend to create vulnerabilities in the company by opening access points via some features in cameras and microphones.


Security Threats: Malware, Hackers, and Identity Thieves


Webcams have evolved left and right, as necessitated by COVID-19. However, the fear of being spied on through webcams is one of the oldest considerations users have mainly because of the risk of being spied directly through a compromised IP camera. This (and more) has been made possible by the risks posed by malware, hackers, and identity thieves that break into databases and systems to perpetrate cyber fraud, digital identity theft, or simply to cause havoc to people and businesses.

Secure connections become vulnerable again every time new applications or hardware are introduced to the network (despite being previously secured). Session Border Controller (SBC), updated firewalls, and well-reviewed network settings are often needed by video conferencing endpoints and platforms. These are used to manage traffic and look out for and block suspicious connections. Here are six tips to mitigate the security threats posed by malware, hackers, and identity thieves:

  1. Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi or use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), otherwise, your office’s and equipment’s security protocols can be easily rendered useless;

  2. Avoid unnecessarily divulging sensitive documents or placing them on display during a video call;

  3. Avoid using poorly constructed passwords to enter video conferences; and

  4. Avoid allowing staff to dive into video conferences without educating and training them on the company’s safe use policies.

  5. Use USB connected video conferencing cameras, preferably with built-in speakers and microphones;


Disadvantages of Bluetooth Devices


Bluetooth devices were designed to connect nearby devices using minimal power usage. While these devices provide myriads of benefits to our daily lives, Bluetooth devices expose our network's connections in a way that cybercriminals will be able to utilize to infiltrate the company. The (sort of) upside to this is that Bluetooth devices only have a limited range that enables pairing. Therefore, potential hackers are also within a few feet to compromise your data and connection. Good practice tells us to always reject pairing requests from unknown or suspiciously named devices and always ensure your firmware is updated. Here are some examples of Bluetooth security vulnerabilities:


Bluesnarfing

It is a cyber-attack that involves stealing information via Bluetooth. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, can become victims to a variety of cybercrimes when blackhat and whitehat hackers (within up to 300 feet) access susceptible devices using tools and services from the dark web, self-coded bluesnarfing tools, or other tools found within the internet.


Viruses and Worms

Counterfeit websites and applications might cause you to download malware. An example of a hacking technique is by using the Bluebug which is a loophole on the Bluetooth security of some cellphones of a limited range of 10-15 meters. Attackers who utilize this security flaw can initiate phone calls, send SMS to any number, read SMS, read and write phonebook entries, set call forwards, etc.


Denial of Services

Users who do not turn off their Bluetooth when they are not using it are exposed to hackers who can crash the device and deny them important services such as making calls, receiving e-mails, drain the battery, block commands, and messaging. Bluesman is a type of denial of service by attacking Bluetooth devices in a way that “knocks them out”. Hackers attack by transferring oversized echo packets to the Bluetooth-enabled device which then results in denial of service.


Eavesdropping

Bluetooth headsets, speakers, and earphones are common accessories to homes and offices. However, hackers may use these Bluetooth-enabled devices to listen in on important conferences and meetings. Although most levels of Bluetooth encryption are designed to keep eavesdroppers at bay, the imperfect coding and outdated protocols may cause vulnerability to your data (and conversations). One of the most classic schemes is to trick users into pairing with devices with similar names (sometimes misspellings of your trusted devices). Once paired, hackers gain access to your entire device.


BlueBump and BlueDump

BlueBump is similar to physical key bumping, where attackers can open any lock in seconds (via Bluetooth) if they use the key bump correctly. On the other hand, BlueDump involves a technique where attackers can cause a Bluetooth device to “dump” stored link key that creates an opportunity for cryptographic key exchange to take place.


Risk of Exposure when using Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections can be vulnerable points of access for data or identity theft. Many users of video conferencing platforms and wireless devices are unaware of the latent risks and vulnerabilities inherent in these technologies. Many Wi-Fi-enabled devices are not secured or encrypted by default. To better protect your meetings, make sure you use strong passwords, educate staff on how to securely connect to conferences, and all applications and programs are up-to-date. Here are 10 other guides for securing video conferencing:

  1. Change default passwords to strong, complex ones for Wi-Fi networks and routers.

  2. Disable legacy protocols like WEP and WPA

  3. Wi-Fi encrypted with WPA2 or WPA3 is more secure.

  4. Use encrypted and/or USB-connected video conferencing tools.

  5. Avoid using public hotspots and networks.

  6. Enable “waiting room” features to individually grant access to potential conference participants.

  7. Ensure the host’s capability to admit or remove attendees manually.

  8. Make sure participants are aware when recording meetings.

  9. Control data sharing, especially for .exe files.

  10. Enable automatic updates on software.


Optimal Equipment for Safe Video Conference


Coolpo AI Huddle PANA (PANA) offers a 360-degree panoramic view of your huddle or conference

room. Unlike traditional video conferencing technologies, the PANA has a camera (360˚ 4K HD lens), microphones, and speaker all in one versatile product! Its AI tracking capability identifies the active participants using detection mechanisms for face, human shape, motion, and sound source. In terms of security, PANA transfers meeting data locally through the USB 3.0 cable. Participants to your company’s video conference need not worry about malware, hackers, and identity thieves accessing sensitive information from the meeting via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The easy and cost-effective, portable device also comes with its lens cover and breathing light effect (at the bottom) to have control as to whom can access the camera and be aware whenever it is in use.


Conclusion


Keeping up with modern technology means staying abreast with the latest trends at school, work, or at home. Hackers all over the world are also updated with the current trends which makes security and privacy a top priority during this digital age. Although Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have been very beneficial to our daily lives, they are risky in terms of being safe from hackers, malware, and identity thieves. Further, it is most safe to stream video and audio to a host computer via USB that does not record content without the express confirmation of the host or the conference's participants. Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections can be vulnerable points of access for data or identity theft but that does not mean we cannot use them safely. While devices connected to USB are safest, practicing strong security protocols are highly necessary as well.

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