Instead of face-to-face meetings on site, more and more video conferences are taking place via the internet. Many of these online services are easy to use, it seems. In reality, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your privacy remains protected.

Live from the home office

Under the impact of the Corona crisis, working has changed in many industries. 95 percent of companies are replacing face-to-face meetings with video conferences, according to a survey by digital association Bitkom. If you currently also work in a home office, you are certainly familiar with the popular video conferencing services such as Zoom or Teams.

Hardly any installation is required to conduct or participate in online meetings. A browser, webcam, microphone, speakers and a good Internet connection are all you need. Accordingly, many times a day one participates in one of the online meetings. This has already become so much a part of everyday working life that some participants forget that the webcam or microphone is already or still switched on. In this way, images and sounds are transmitted that were not actually intended for the public. But privacy is even more at risk.

Data protection and security authorities provide important tips

The data protection supervisory authorities have published guidance on videoconferencing systems, including important information for users. From this, there are points that you should bear in mind when using online videoconferencing. On the one hand, it is important to use only services approved by the company, even if you plan and invite an online conference yourself as part of your job. Secondly, you should pay attention to certain technical and organizational measures to better protect your privacy, as the BSI (German Federal Office for Information Security) emphasizes:

Make sure that only the people you have invited participate in your online meeting – this can be done, for example, with a complex PIN for your virtual room. Overwrite the default room name and your user ID with individual names. Make sure that you do not assign trivial passwords, user IDs or PINs. Enter only the most necessary data when you need to register for the service. Be aware of what you are showing when you share the screen. When you share date, malware can also be transmitted. Close security gaps by installing updates. Make sure that active encryption is confirmed in the web browser you use, for example by „https“ in the browser’s address bar. Only activate the webcam and microphone when you really need them, and then deactivate these functions again.

It is best to use a cover for the webcam that can be slid back and forth. Take these security tips to heart so that you don’t reveal more about yourself and your home office than you want to.