Are video calls secure? It depends. To understand the answer to this question, you need to understand how a video call works and the potential security vulnerabilities.

A video call mainly consists of four elements:

  • The caller
  • The receiver
  • The link between them
  • And the application used

For the system to be considered secure, the security and confidentiality of the four elements must be ensured. This means that no one can listen to or access messages either on participants’ devices or while they are being transmitted. Cybercriminals have several motivations for wanting to intercept messages: wiretapping public figures to obtain ammunition to tarnish their image, exploiting influential people to benefit from knowledge about legal or corporate reforms, and even random eavesdropping in order to take the pulse of society: what are the biggest concerns and how could they be used for future attacks.

Protection of messages during transmission depends on the application and is processed using encryption techniques. These techniques translate the message into a sequence of characters that cannot be understood by anyone who does not know the encryption key. This means that the message cannot be understood even if it is intercepted. Therefore, it is important to take into account the following points when using a video call service:

  • Only download and install apps from official vendor sites or portals to avoid using a fake version that could be used to intercept communications and find targets for scams.
  • Always keep applications up to date with the most recent version so that any security vulnerabilities identified in earlier versions are corrected.

Protecting messages in user devices is all about making sure criminals are not already inside the device. Cyber ​​criminals may have gained access to the device through previously installed malware. This frequently occurs surreptitiously when files are downloaded from scam pages or via malicious links in phishing or smishing messages sent to the user. To prevent this from happening, you should:

  • Activate anti-virus software and keep it up to date on all compatible devices with Internet access.
  • Never click on links in emails, text messages or social networks if you are in doubt as to their origin or authenticity.

In addition, to ensure the confidentiality of conversations, users should avoid involving people they do not know, who could have malicious intentions. This can be achieved by:

  • Correctly configure video call setup options to prevent them from becoming public, share connection details only with people who should be involved in the call, do not post these details on social media platforms or in open forums.
  • Make sure that conversations are taken in a secure physical environment where neither people nor unauthorized devices can listen to them.

So why do they recommend covering the cameras of the devices?

After verifying that your video conferences and cameras are secure, using official apps, protecting devices from malware, and following best practices when video calling, it would make sense to think that no one can abuse the camera. of your device. But, there are others secondary risks this should also be taken into account that cause many users to physically block their cameras.

Providing customers with a product or service to generate profit is the goal of any business. In many cases this return is done with payment, subscriptions or commissions, and in other cases, such as with specific applications which are supposed to be completely free, through the sale of customer data to third parties. This may be the case for certain “free” smartphone tools, without other associated services, such as free players and games or in certain social networking platforms.

Even in regions like Europe, which is particularly sensitive to user privacy and has significant regulations on books, this can happen because the user authorizes these practices when granting the requested permissions during the installation of the application. Evaluating a device’s app permissions easily shows that camera access is one of the most requested permissions. This, along with the possibility of camera hijacking by malware to spy on, is the main reason that stickers and other physical barriers are used to block a device’s camera.

In this landscape, some companies are exploiting customer impatience by collecting excessive data when consumers rush to the app’s terms of service. It is therefore recommended to:

  • Review the privacy terms before installing any apps, and consider replacing the app with something else if the terms seem excessive.
  • Restrict all permissions that are not needed for installed apps. In some cases, permissions can only be enabled while using the app.
  • Remove accounts and apps that are no longer in use or that appear to have excessive permissions for the features they provide.

The threats that exist in the virtual world are not that different from those in the physical world. That’s why, event with the best security tools installed and monitoring your device … you are the best defense!

If you want to find out the best ways to protect yourself online for the COVID-19 crisis, read the following articles:

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