Standardizing video conferencing security guidelines should be a top government priority

With more individuals working remotely over the past two years, the world has seen a rise in collaborative technologies, with meetings taking place via Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other platforms.

By: George Waller

But this trend has coincided with too many reports of lewd meeting interruptions and negative “Zoom Bombing” incidents, reaching a point where politicians have had to actually address these types of issues head-on.

Earlier this year, the government issued an executive order to bolster cyber defense and implement a zero trust approach, making it clear that the U.S. is looking much more closely at cybersecurity as a top national priority. But the world is changing fast, and when it comes to collaborative communication tools, organizations are still susceptible to the security flaws of the many widely used platforms. Now, many security industry experts are increasing their focus on addressing any and all of these potential vulnerabilities to ensure that proprietary data is protected by the most enhanced methods of technology.

With a global cultural shift towards a hybrid remote work dynamic, governments must continue to adapt to these new realities heading into next year. Agencies and public officials must be able to have extreme confidence in the security of the virtual meeting platforms they’re using to ensure critical information and sensitive discussions aren’t breached.

Developing new recommendations and guidelines

Early on during the pandemic, federal officials saw a worrying trend in the rise in “video conferencing hijacking events,” which impacted schools, the financial industry, healthcare and other areas. This string of incidents led to the Department of Homeland Security issuing a direct warning to businesses and putting out an initial set of guidelines and best practices to help users understand the threat of cyberattacks and prevent hackers from getting into a meeting.

These early guidelines were a positive start but needed to go further in establishing robust meeting policies. Ideally, every video conferencing organizer should be able to classify the type of meeting to be able to determine whom to invite and control the access to information. This will allow government organizations to grant acceptable privileges to their teams, so they run the meeting in a secure way. It is now practical to secure video conferencing and protect all parties involved, even if malware or spyware has crept onto an individual’s computer or an organization’s network. With breaches and virtual meeting interruptions becoming more common, there is no excuse for government agencies to overlook this area of cybersecurity.

How platforms can bulk up on security

While the majority of competing video conferencing servi