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COVID 19 – Security challenges @home and Zoombombing! Please smile - You are on cam!

Aktualisiert: 6. Mai 2020

A few years back Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg caused a media sensation by taping over the camera and microphone of his notebook. What was still somehow amusing at that time is now everyday´s reality. People are locked up in their home offices. Disabling webcams and microphones are simply precautionary measures.

#stayhome means for many people they have to open their homes for professionally necessary video meetings. Data security experts confirm that the growing number of virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom and Skype have also dramatically increased the number of hacked webcams.

Please smile - You are on cam. In recent times you not only have to worry about being disturbed or overheard during a confidential conversation but also that your cam secretly starts filming you, even if it appears to be offline.

Malware that enables operating external cameras can be bought on the internet at reasonable prices. Big companies and organisations are well aware of that risk. The former FBI boss James Comey mentioned that all members of the US governmental departments were instructed to over tape their cams on all devices. The German federal ministry of family distributed free stickers to its citizens so that they can cover their webcams. In any case you can't trust the little lamp next to the cam because you never know for sure if the camera is operating or not. Malware puts those lamps out of action and signals no action even if the cam is on.

How to stay safe. The easiest solution if you feel unsure about that is to cover the cam with a post-it sticker. Those of you who want a more permanent solution can buy a cam cover in specialist shops. On top of that always make sure that the applications you use are safe.

Zoom, a cloud-based conference software, claims to be the worldwide market leader for video call conferences. Its easy access makes it a very attractive application indeed. You just need a browser, no complicated installation processes are necessary. Since COVID-19, Zoom has over 200 Million customers - business as well as private - worldwide per month.

Zoombombing. The risks involved with the use of those technologies became apparent through a phenomenon called “zoombombing”. Unauthorized users connect themselves into active conferences and disrupt them by airing obscene video scenes. Meanwhile Zoom reacted to those incidents and increased their security settings.

Therefore always keep ALL your security settings up-to-date and conduct security scans regularly. Only use software from trustworthy sources and regularly change your passwords.

Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended to use more secure channels for confidential discussions like regular phone lines.

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