Remote Working- Stay Cyber Safe When Chatting Online

If your name’s not down, you’re not coming in!

During this period of self-isolation and social distancing, millions of us are using video conferencing and online apps to stay connected to not only our colleagues and clients, but also our family and friends.

With wide-spread remote access comes greater opportunity for cyber security vulnerabilities to be exploited.  “Zoom-bombing” is a trend whereby internet trolls interrupt meetings or chats made via the Zoom video conference service app, and display pornographic and/or hate images, violent videos and use threatening language.

It’s not just the workplace seeing business meetings and events disrupted, the FBI recently reported how schools conducting online classes using Zoom are being met with unwanted guests dialling in and using foul language, divulging personal information on teachers, and displaying offensive images.


Users may not be aware that the Zoom app can collect personal information such as location data, operating system, IP address, and what kind of device you’re using.  

Zoom has released several useful tips in their blog, ‘How to Keep the Party Crashers from Crashing your Zoom Event’, including:

  1. Don’t share meeting links publicly – only give an access link directly to specific people.
  2. Make sure meetings are on the Private option, requiring a password to join.
  3. Lock the meeting to prevent new participants joining.
  4. Use the Waiting Room feature to control who can join.
  5. Remove unwanted guests – hover over a name and one of the options that appears will be Remove.
  6. Ensure screensharing is Host Only by clicking on the Advanced Sharing Options -> “Who can share” -> “Host Only”.
  7. Disable “file transfer” to help prevent malware being shared.
  8. Ensure you’re using the most up to date version of Zoom. Older versions don’t have the same level of security, passwords by default for meetings, or disable the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.

Another app which has been downloaded by millions of people in the space of a few weeks is Houseparty.

Again, various items of personal data can be collected from Houseparty users’ devices, however, a study carried out by a Forbes cybersecurity reporter suggests that there are currently no major red flags in the app’s privacy policy. It is still advisable that safety measures are taken, such as:

  1. Lock rooms down by hitting the padlock button at the bottom of the screen – stop uninvited guests joining in.
  2. If you’re worried about being hacked, why not use a fake name and birthday?
  3. If you don’t want to receive emails, texts or notifications from the app, then opt out.
  4. Withdraw consent for Houseparty to use any of your personal data by emailing [email protected].
  5. If using the iPhone version of the app, you can hold down on the Houseparty icon and click ‘Sneak into the House’, meaning when you go in, none of your contacts will be notified.

Clearly, there are numerous benefits to using incredibly popular apps such as these, not least for our mental wellbeing, but also making it possible to continue with work and social gatherings.  However, it is vitally important to remain cyber smart and take precautions when doing so *

 If you have any other cyber-related queries, speak to our cyber specialists today on 01-4611507.

*Source : Catherine Aleppo CLIENT DIRECTOR – HEAD OF CYBER