In the days of forced smart working and agendas full of video chat appointments, it becomes relevant to question the safety of the tools available to stay connected remotely. Several apps used for group meetings and whose names are on everyone’s lips in recent weeks, in fact, have clashed, in recent days, with some problems related to cyber security.
The increase in popularity of services such as HouseParty and Zoom has also attracted interest from network pirates, highlighting the possible risks associated with the use of these platforms. David Emm, Kaspersky’s Principal Security Researcher shared some tips on how to protect yourself when using application for group conferences, whether they are with loved ones or business.
Convenience in communicating, but not at the expense of security
“At times like this, people are especially interested in finding simple and easy-to-use methods to stay in touch with loved ones virtually,” says Emm. “Often, however, in order to connect as quickly and comfortably as possible, some very important aspects are neglected. Given the premise that each user has the possibility to decide how much of their private life they want to make public online, it is important to underline that before sharing anything on the net it is important to ask questions and keep in mind some rules. This will allow users to be able to connect to the web safely and stay in touch with loved ones.”
Download an app or not: the questions to ask
But what are the questions to ask before downloading an application? It is soon explained. According to David Emm, Kaspersky’s Principal Security Researcher, the first question to ask is related to the old adage of following money: “Where does the application we intend to download derive its profits from? If the app is free, the price to pay will most likely be users’ personal information. It is therefore important to check the permissions required by the apps and check which data is collected, stored and reused”. But technology also plays a fundamental role, as Emm still points out by asking himself: “Is the data transmitted by the application encrypted?”. In addition, the expert recommends: “You need to keep informed on social engineering tactics. How do you know that the people we come in contact with using the app are really who they say they are? How can we verify the information or links received? Remember that nothing and nobody can be considered 100% safe. Even if we think we’re not interesting to a cybercriminal, as Jeff Bezos could be, we are all potential victims of hackers interested in apps.”
Top 10 tips to communicate in total safety
So how to behave in order to communicate in total safety? Here are the 10 tips for using any type of application that Kaspersky provides to all users …
1) Check your privacy and security settings very carefully.
2) Use unique and complex passwords for all online accounts.
3) Set limits on what can be seen and shared.
4) Do not trust someone without having made checks before. Check with your contacts that the identity of the person who contacted you or sent you a link on an application is real.
5) Deactivate functions that are not used or that are not needed to enable access (e.g. microphone, access to the camera, etc.).
6) Don’t share what you don’t want to make public and visible to everyone.
7) Report abuse.
8) Protect all devices with a reliable Internet security product.
9) Install operating system and application updates as soon as they become available.
10) If it is a business meeting, follow the app recommended / provided by your company and not your favorite app for group video calls.
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