Work From Home Conference Call Security

During the current crisis many of us have been forced to work from home and if your day is anything like mine conference calls have become a big part of it. There are many resources online discussing how to secure your computer when taking part in conference calls  and I wanted to share some additional tips to ensure your conference calls are a little more secure.

If you are the host of the meeting, require a password when scheduling new meetings including a password form participants joining by phone. Use the waiting room function, this lets you view participants before accepting or rejecting each one individually.

In the “Screen sharing” section, set “Who can share?” and “Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing?” to “Host Only” unless you have a specific need to let multiple people share the screen.

Set the password to be at least 8 digits, do not share the meeting details and password on social media or the public Internet. Send the meeting details to only the required participants.

Zoom meeting security has been in the news a lot recently and I would not recommend using Zoom for holding a meeting that contains confidential or sensitive information. Seek guidance from your company IT team and do not break the rules. If you are attending a Zoom meeting as a participant, use the web browser version which avoids having to install the Zoom software on your computer. Zoom wants you to install the client software on your computer and makes it difficult use the web browser meeting option. One way to force it to the give you the web browser option is to interrupt the Zoom client software download, it then will offer the web browser as an option to attend the meeting.

Remember your web cam, audio feed, and any screen sharing that you do is viewable by anyone on the call. Meeting attendees can record video, audio, your screen, and any documents that are shared during the call. You may trust the host, but do you trust all participants on the call?

Do not use your family or home computer, if your company have not provided a computer for you to use then just connect to the audio call using a phone. However tempting and convenient it is to use you own computer it is too much of a security risk to use it.

If you have the option turn off your web cam during the call. If not make an excuse; say you camera is not working, tell the host you do not have a web cam?  If cameras are mandatory during your conference call then consider:

  • Any family photos on the wall of your home office could be visible on the call if the camera picks them up, make sure your camera is not showing the photos to everyone on the call.
  • Pointing the camera at an angle so that your face is not directly shown in profile to the camera.
  • Mask the camera with some clear tape to make the camera appear out of focus. If people complain about the quality, play dumb, say you don’t know why it’s not working, hosts are unlikely to delay a call because  your camera is out of focus.

When using screen sharing remember everything on your desktop is visible to all participants, this includes any open documents, open email programs, notifications, and instant messaging chat windows. All of which can reveal sensitive or confidential information about you or your company. Consider:

  • For confidential or sensitive material use a dedicated computer containing only the material you need to share for the meeting.
  • Close all programs and documents not needed for the meeting
  • Turn on ‘do not disturb” for notifications

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