How to avoid “zoombombing” during an online meeting?

How to avoid “zoombombing” during an online meeting?

Zoombombing” in video conferencing is still going strong. It disrupts increasingly strategic online meetings, often with malicious intent. To avoid this, video conferencing security must be maximised at all levels.

 

What is “zoombombing” in online meeting?

“Zoombombing” is an unwanted intrusion into an online meeting. During the health crisis and the containment, the sudden and massive use of video conferencing caused this phenomenon to explode. Zoombombing” got its name from the large number of intrusions by malicious people during Zoom videoconferences.

Indeed, intruders can have different objectives when they join a videoconference, ranging from simply disrupting the meeting to retrieving sensitive data such as the names of participants, the purpose of the meeting, documents or shared screens…

 

Serious consequences for organisations

An intruder in a videoconference is not only disruptive to the conduct of the meeting. It also represents a danger for the confidentiality of the information exchanged.

In its latest flash on the risks linked to video conferences, the DGSI cites the example of an intrusion into a company’s video conference to broadcast messages of a terrorist nature. The cause? No control over access to the online meeting: registration was free and the application password had a very low level of security. This lack of protection made it easier for individuals to break in.

Similarly, a recent Federal Reserve videoconference was cancelled after pornographic images appeared and were distributed by an anonymous participant in the meeting. About 100 representatives of major US banks were present during this online meeting. This disruption has led to the risk of data theft and tarnished the organisation’s reputation.

 

A must: the security of the video conferencing software used

These intrusions can be avoided if the videoconferencing software used is “Secure by design“. This principle consists of designing software by addressing security concepts from the very first stages of its design, in order to prevent the risks of security breaches.

Access to the software or its functionalities are thus subject to strict analysis from the moment they are created. As a result, as soon as a vulnerability is discovered, it is immediately corrected before the software is deployed.

End-to-end encryption

For video conferences, end-to-end encryption is one of the essential security criteria. This data transmission system (audio, video and data) guarantees total confidentiality of communications. Indeed, only the sender and the recipient(s) are able to decrypt the data exchanged, without any decryption phase between them.

It is therefore impossible to eavesdrop or spy on an end-to-end encrypted video conference from outside the meeting. Therefore, end-to-end encryption makes it even more difficult to intrude into an online meeting.

The key role of the videoconference organiser

The security of the video conferencing software is a first barrier against “zoombombing” in online meeting.

However, to ensure maximum protection, it is important that the meeting organiser is able to :

  • easily manage the participants and exclude an unwanted participant at any time
  • moderate the speaking rights in the meeting
  • adapt the security level according to the sensitivity of the meeting

 

Controlling access to online meetings

When a videoconference login link is shared, some unwanted guests have the opportunity to login and access the meeting directly.

With Tixeo, if someone clicks on a videoconference login link, he/she indicates his/her name and accesses a waiting room. The organizer receives a notification of this access request. The organiser can then decide whether or not to include this person.

Similarly, at any time during the online meeting, the organiser can exclude a participant if he or she considers that the participant is suspicious.

 

Managing participants’ rights

Until all the participants in the videoconference are assembled, it is preferable that only the organiser has the microphone open. This avoids noise from everyone arriving and the risk of an intruder speaking up and attracting attention.

The organiser can also ask each participant to activate their webcam, so that there is no doubt about who is present, as recommended by the DGSI.

 

Choose the right security level

Tixeo allows the organizer to choose a higher or lower security level depending on the sensitivity of the videoconference.

For example, with a standard security level, it will be possible to share a connection link to the meeting and to connect to it from a web browser.

With a maximum security level, participants will have to create a user account and connect to the online meeting from the software.

visa de sécurité ANSSI

ANSSI security visa

Tixeo secure video conferencing technology is the only solution to be certified and qualified by ANSSI.

Learn more about secure video conferencing

Avoiding sharing information about an online meeting

Finally, information about a videoconference is sometimes inadvertently shared. For example, in shared agendas, where the list of participants, the purpose of the meeting or the login link is accessed. But it also happens that photos of meeting rooms with a video conference in progress are published on social networks, even though the name of the network or the connection identifiers can be seen on the screen.

Vigilance must be exercised when sharing this type of information as it can lead to “zoombombing”.

Tixeo, Secure by Design video conferencing software, integrates security in the design of its solution. Its end-to-end encryption technology secures communications, regardless of the number of participants in the videoconference.

Spying: how to recognise an unsecured video conference?

Spying: how to recognise an unsecured video conference?

When participating in an online meeting, there are certain aspects that should alert you to the level of security. Here is how to spot them to avoid spying on videoconferences.

In its flash #91 on economic interference, the DGSI (General Directorate for Internal Security) gives several examples of suspicious video conferences that have consequences for the integrity of the company.

Its objective is to encourage French companies to be extra vigilant during their online meetings, which are often strategic and sensitive. Indeed, the risks of espionage and economic interference, via unsecured video conferences, are increasingly important. To avoid these risks, organisations must ensure that their exchanges are well secured.

The main characteristics of an unsecured videoconference :

Uncontrolled access to the online meeting

Some videoconferences are accessible through a shareable login link. They allow additional participants to be invited at the last minute but can also lead to intrusion by potentially malicious persons. In 2020, the intrusion of Dutch journalist Danier Verlaan into a confidential videoconference was highly publicised.

To facilitate access to a secure videoconference, it is possible to share a connection link, but only if the organiser can validate the participants’ entry. This requires the organiser to check the identity of the person before allowing him or her to attend the exchange. If in doubt, it is always advisable to refuse the request or to ask for more details about the need to attend the meeting. Without this validation, anyone can connect and access the videoconference information (communications, files, etc.) or spread malicious messages.

Unencrypted communication flows

Audio, video or data exchanges can be spied on if they are not strictly protected by end-to-end encryption. This data transmission system only allows the sender and the recipient(s) to decrypt the data without any decryption phase between them. This avoids spying on videoconferences.

Some non-European video conferencing software claims this type of encryption but is subject to foreign regulations, such as the Cloud Act. The latter obliges publishers to provide back doors in their software to allow the authorities to listen in on communications under certain conditions. However, these back doors represent a security flaw and can be discovered by hackers who will use them to spy on videoconferences.

What is a back door and how does it relate to video conference spying? The answer in video!

The DGSI recommends the use of end-to-end encrypted video conferencing solutions to avoid the risk of spying on videoconferences. Tixeo’s end-to-end encryption technology, certified and qualified by ANSSI, prevents any eavesdropping on communication flows, regardless of the number of participants in the online meeting. Moreover, as a European and sovereign solution, Tixeo’s end-to-end encryption is subject to the GDPR.

Learn more about Tixeo's privacy policy

Guide RGPD Tixeo espionnage visioconférences

Suspicious behaviour by participants

Finally, the threat during a videoconference can sometimes be internal to the company. In this case, it is necessary to be attentive to certain suspicious signals emanating from the participants. In its flash, the DGSI discusses the striking example of a 100% teleworking employee who never shows herself to the webcam and records the videoconferences in which she participates. The capture of strategic information represents a danger of industrial espionage for a company. In case of doubt, it is important to avoid talking about sensitive subjects if confidentiality is no longer guaranteed.

 

Companies must protect their video conferences from espionage

Choosing a secure video conferencing tool

French companies are regularly victims of economic interference due to security breaches during online meetings and this is detrimental to their economic sovereignty. The security of their videoconferencing tool must therefore be at the heart of their concerns. With remote working, sensitive meetings are now done online and expose the company’s strategic data.

Tixeo is the only French video conferencing solution to be certified and qualified by ANSSI thanks to its end-to-end encryption. The software is Secure by Design: security is an integral part of its design process.

Raising employee awareness

Tixeo helps its customers and users to protect their communications and personal data. A security that also requires an awareness of the teams, especially in telecommuting.

It is essential that employees understand the risks of unsecured video conferencing and master the best practices. For each online meeting, organisers and participants must be able to gauge the appropriate level of security and thus adapt their vigilance accordingly (verification of guests, webcam activated for all, high level of password intensity, etc.).

Depending on the sensitivity of the meeting, Tixeo allows to activate a standard or maximum security level. For a confidential meeting, the organizer can set conditions to access the videoconference (installation of the client software and creation of a user account). Each participant will have to identify himself before accessing the videoconference.

How does secure video conferencing protect the personal data of companies and employees?

How does secure video conferencing protect the personal data of companies and employees?

Communicating within and outside the company has never been easier. However, the security of video conferencing software is still rarely taken into account and often exposes users’ personal data.

The urgency of data protection

The GDPR 2022 barometer of Data legal drive indicates that 74% of the data and privacy professionals surveyed believe that employees are more and more attentive to the protection of personal data by the company.

This is not surprising when you consider that in 2021, one out of two French companies was the victim of a cyber attack (CESIN study). Computer attacks generally lead to data theft, which exposes employees and undermines the financial stability of organisations.

In companies, videoconferencing tools process and transmit a multitude of sensitive and confidential data and become prime targets for hackers.

GDPR compliance

First and foremost, video conferencing software must be sovereign and compliant with the GDPR.

Within the European Union, the GDPR firmly regulates the protection of personal data, requiring software publishers to be transparent about their processing. It also excludes any possibility of transferring data to a third country, without a contractual agreement in advance.

union européenne RGPD

The absence of a backdoor in the software

Some major video conferencing software, located outside the European Union, comply with foreign legislation. These authorise the listening of communications. This is the case of the Cloud Act, a series of extraterritorial American laws which allow the authorities to force publishers located on American territory to provide data relating to electronic communications. This data can be stored on American or foreign servers.

Video conferencing: is it necessary to choose a European solution?

Tixeo is committed to data protection

As a European and secure solution, Tixeo is 100% compliant with the GDPR and puts personal data protection at the heart of its commitments. Indeed, its customers, evolving in sensitive sectors (defense, health, industry…) require a reliable video conferencing tool with a maximum security level and with all the guarantees to respect the integrity of their employees’ personal data.

In the Tixeo GDPR guide, select your user profile to find all the essential information you need to know about

  • the processing
  • use
  • hosting
  • storage
  • the protection

of your personal data.

gprd compliant video conferencing

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Features of a secure video conference

A secure video conferencing software offers additional guarantees for personal data protection. This is the case of Tixeo.

 

Secure by Design: an architecture designed for data security

To be secure, a secure video conferencing software must be Secure by Design. In other words, it must take security into account from the very first steps of its design to its deployment. This process makes it possible to determine potential points of failure in the software at an early stage and to work out solutions to correct them during its development.

As a result, Secure by Design video conferencing software will be much more robust than traditional video conferencing software.

 

Deployment that minimises security impacts 

Deploying a video conferencing tool must not disturb the security of the company’s internal network. With Tixeo, Secure by design video conferencing software, there is only one port to open to deploy the solution. Thus, the security policy of the company network is preserved. This saves time and security!

End-to-end encryption

It is no longer a secret that communications in an unsecured video conference can be listened in on. Only end-to-end encryption avoids the risk of eavesdropping.

This technology enables all audio, video and data streams to be encrypted, regardless of the number of participants in the online meeting. It thus guarantees total confidentiality of exchanges.

end-to-end encryption

Tixeo’s secure video conferencing includes end-to-end encryption through a server (AES 256 encryption), while easily adapting to network variations.

[How it works] End-to-end encryption

 

Taking into account the location of the publisher  

It should be noted that the location of the video conferencing editor is an important criterion to take into account, if the software claims end-to-end encryption. Indeed, in some countries, it is sometimes impossible to fully encrypt communications.

For example, since 2001 in the United States, the Patriot Act requires software publishers to add backdoors to their systems. This back door is a secret entrance that allows the authorities to access the software’s data. If a malicious entity discovers it, personal data can be compromised.

Video conferencing: do you (really) know how your personal data is handled?

gdpr video conferencing

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Video conferencing: do you (really) know how your personal data is processed?

Video conferencing: do you (really) know how your personal data is processed?

The explosion of teleworking and hybrid working has led to the widespread use of video conferencing solutions in organisations. Tools that involve the processing of a multitude of personal data of your company’s employees.

Protect your employees and your business

Deploying a videoconferencing solution within your organisation involves processing the personal data of all your employees. This data is of various kinds and includes information about your employees but also about your activity.

Thus, depending on the request, the names, first names, or user IDs and passwords are personal data that can be collected, just like the titles of meetings, their dates or the list of participants.

In most organisations, especially those in sensitive sectors, this data must remain strictly confidential. It is therefore imperative to have a clear view on how personal data is handled.

5 essential questions to ask yourself

1/ Who processes my data?

The data controller determines the purposes and means of processing personal data. The personal data processor processes personal data on behalf of the data controller.

Depending on the use of its services, TIXEO is either a data controller or a data processor on behalf of its Cloud customers.

2/ Why are they used?

These are the purposes set by the controller that justify the use of personal data.

For example, Tixeo processes personal data during a videoconference meeting to generate a meeting history, which is necessary for its client, and to allow to find the participants who attended a meeting.

3/ Where are they housed?

This is a key issue as the hosting of personal data is a key factor in determining the level of protection.

Indeed, within the European Union, the GDPR excludes any possibility of hosting personal data abroad or transferring data to a third country, without a contractual agreement in advance.

Outside the European Union, regulations are much more flexible. In the US, the Cloud Act, a series of extraterritorial laws, allows authorities to force publishers located in the US to provide electronic communication data, whether stored on US or foreign servers.

Tixeo hosts all its data in France, with OVH, a French company and European leader in the cloud.

4/ How long is it kept?

Processed data may be kept for a limited period of time. This must be clearly specified.

5/ What personal data protection measures are implemented?

The GDPR compliance of a videoconferencing solution is a first guarantee of security.

Tixeo goes further by taking a number of precautions to maximize data security. Among them, the encryption of the hard disks of the staff’s workstations handling personal data or the verification of the subcontractors’ compliance with article 28 of the GDPR.

Indeed, security is part of Tixeo’s DNA: its European video conferencing solution is the most secure on the market and is certified and qualified by the ANSSI.

Discover how Tixeo handles your personal data

In its GDPR guide, Tixeo explains in full transparency its personal data protection policy.

In one click, select your user profile and discover all the information about how Tixeo, a 100% GDPR compliant video conferencing solution, handles your personal data.

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Is 100% GDPR compliant video conferencing possible?

Is 100% GDPR compliant video conferencing possible?

While 42% of Europeans are worried about the use of their personal data (according to this study published in 2022), being compliant with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is an increasingly important issue for companies. In the age of digitalization of work, this compliance is now a real guarantee of reliability.

Tixeo, the European leader in secure video conferencing, is 100% GDPR compliant.

To protect users’ personal data

When a video conferencing solution is used within an organisation, personal data are collected and processed.

The following is an example of personal data that may be processed by the solution provider

  • lists of participants in meetings,
  • their names and e-mail addresses,
  • the times and dates of videoconferences,
  • identifiers or passwords

Even before using the solution, personal data may already have been collected. For example, if a test or contact request has been made: the name, e-mail address or telephone number of the requester has been processed.

It is therefore essential to be aware of all the measures taken by the videoconferencing publisher to protect data.

An essential condition: the European origin of the solution

In Europe, the GDPR firmly regulates the processing of personal data.

In particular, it excludes any possibility of transferring data to a third country without a prior contractual agreement. The GDPR also requires publishers to notify all information relating to the personal data they collect, such as: the means of collection, the purposes, the legal basis and the retention period. European videoconferences are subject to this regulation.

Outside the European Union, video conferencing solutions are not subject to the GDPR.

Most of the major publishers, particularly those present in the United States, comply with foreign regulations, which are very flexible in terms of data protection. The Cloud Act is one of them. This series of extraterritorial laws allows the authorities, under certain conditions, to compel publishers located on American territory to provide data relating to electronic communications stored on American or foreign servers.

Tixeo offers full transparency on personal data processing

As an actor committed to video conferencing security, Tixeo puts GDPR compliance at the heart of its commitments. It is imperative that its customers, operating in sensitive and strategic sectors, benefit from an optimal protection of their users’ personal data.

All security measures are implemented, particularly internally, to ensure this protection. These measures include the encryption of the hard disks of staff workstations handling personal data and the verification of the compliance of subcontractors.

But it is not enough to say so!

Tixeo provides its customers and users with an easy-to-understand GDPR guide.

In this guide, you just have to select your profile (Tixeo customer, solution tester, videoconference guest…), to access, in one click, all the information about the processing of your personal data.

gprd compliant video conferencing

How does Tixeo process your personal data?

Discover your GDPR guide to learn more about how Tixeo uses your personal data

Video conferencing spying: Glare from glasses to blame?

Video conferencing spying: Glare from glasses to blame?

A study recently showed that it was possible to access information displayed on the screen of a videoconference participant through the reflection of his or her glasses. A new spying risk to be taken seriously?

Sensitive data can be exposed

Researchers from the University of Michigan in the United States and Zhejiang University in China made this revelation. In a paper entitled “Private Eye: On the Limits of Textual Screen Peeking via Eyeglass Reflections in Video Conferencing” they explain that they “have successfully reconstructed and recognised on-screen text as low as 10 mm in height with a 720p webcam with an accuracy of more than 75%“. In other words, it would be possible for a participant in a video conference to read text with a font size of 28 points in the reflection of the glasses of another participant in the online meeting.

However, the study points out that a number of conditions must be met for the text to be readable. The brightness of the screen, the type of glasses or the ambient light are all criteria that will reduce the risk of spying.

Moreover, it is currently impossible for researchers to analyse texts with a font size of 9 to 12 points.

A cyber security risk that could increase in the future 

With technological advances, particularly those in 4K, researchers believe that it will be increasingly easy to read texts through webcams. This type of video conference spying is therefore likely to increase.

And for good reason: video conferences are full of data, often confidential, related to the activity of companies and organisations. The use of videocollaboration tools is now massively adopted: all company functions can therefore be targeted.

The security of video conferences in question

For the time being, this type of spying, via the reflection of the participants’ glasses, does not seem to be widespread. However, vigilance must be maintained regarding the security of video conferences.

Indeed, spying on online meetings, particularly through backdoors or security flaws, is a risk that is already very real. The end-to-end encryption of communication flows makes it possible to avoid any risk of espionage and data theft. A Secure by Design videoconferencing solution is also recommended: it incorporates security mechanisms from the outset to reinforce the reliability of the software.