Video Web Conferencing Security Best Practices and Information

What's different now compared to previous security threats is that a whole new set of technology users — students, teachers, family members and small organizations are utilizing videoconferencing to run classes. As part of its advisory, the FBI offered safety tips for companies, schools and individuals using videoconferencing services.

Do:

  • Do use the latest version of the software. Security vulnerabilities are likely to be exploited more often on older software versions. 
  • Do eject participants from meetings if an intruder is able to get in or becomes unruly. This prevents them from rejoining.
  • Do lock a meeting once all the participants have joined the call. However, if a valid participant drops out, be sure to unlock the meeting to let them back in and then re-lock it after they return.
  • Do educate all employees who host meetings on the specific steps they should take in the software being utilized to ensure their conferences are secure.
  • Do use waiting room features. Such features put participants in a separate virtual room before the meeting and allow the host to admit only people who are supposed to be in the room.
  • Do make sure password protection is enabled. Make sure that the collaboration tool uses both a meeting ID number and a string, but in addition, that it also has a separate password or PIN. 

Don't

  • Don’t allow participants to screen share by default. The software should offer settings that allow hosts to manage the screen sharing. Once a meeting has begun, the host can allow specific participants to share when appropriate.
  • Don’t use consumer-grade software for meetings. Consumer tools most likely don’t have all the administrative tools to lock things down. While no videoconferencing service can guarantee 100% protection from threats, there is a more complete set of security tools with products geared for enterprise use
  • Don’t share links to teleconferences or classrooms via social media posts. Invite attendees from within the conferencing software — and tell them to not share the links.

Google Meet

Google Meet, better known simply as Meet, is part of Google Cloud’s G Suite workplace cloud collaboration tools. This video-conferencing tool grew out of the suite’s Hangouts Chat function to deliver an even better video conferencing experience for work. See Google Meet Getting Started 

Google Meet supports several browser platforms including Chrome, IOS, Android, Mozilla® Firefox®, Apple® Safari®, and Microsoft Edge®. Please note after some experimentation it works best using Chrome.

TWU currently uses the G Suite Enterprise and Enterprise for Education — Up to 250 participants

Mute or Remove Google Meet participants

Note: For education accounts, only the meeting creator, calendar event owner, or person who sets up a meeting on an in-room hardware device can mute or remove video meeting participants.

Remove a participant

A participant from the domain that organized the video meeting can remove another participant, if necessary. In a video meeting, click the Back arrow, hover over the person, and click Remove

Mute a participant’s microphone

If there is feedback or background noise during a video meeting mute other people’s microphones. To mute other people, next to the person’s thumbnail, hover over their volume icon and click Mute . 

Tips

  • For privacy reasons, no one can unmute another person. Ask the participant to unmute their audio.
  • To mute or unmute yourself, at the bottom of the video window click Mute .
  • Phone participants can press *6 to unmute their phone.  
  • Any participant can be muted, including people who dial-in using a phone.

Dial-in participants

  • Phone participants always press *6 to mute or unmute their phone  
  • If someone else mutes you, you can only unmute using *6 (this is different than the mute icon on the screen).

Protecting Zoom Meetings

Instructors are encouraged to consult with Teaching and Learning with Technology Instructional Designers for specific information about using Zoom in Canvas and/or general practices in instruction and to refer to these Zoom knowledge base articles. 

The following in-meeting security capabilities are available to the meeting host:

  • Secure a meeting with end-to-end encryption
  • Create Waiting Rooms for attendees
  • Require host to be present before meeting starts
  • Expel a participant or all participants
  • Lock a meeting
  • Screen share watermarks
  • Audio signatures - Zoom Audio Watermarks (video)
  • Enable/disable a participant or all participants to record
  • Temporary pause screen-sharing when a new window is opened
  • Password protect a meeting
  • Only allow individuals with a given e-mail domain to join

Virtual Classroom:

Best Practices for Securing Your Virtual Classroom (blog)

Lock a Virtual Classroom

Lock a Zoom session that has already started. Give students a few minutes to file in and then click Participants at the bottom of the Zoom window. In the Participants pop-up, click Lock Meeting.

Lock a Classroom 

Control Screen Sharing

To give instructors more control over what students are seeing and prevent them from sharing random content, Zoom recently updated the default screen-sharing settings for our education users. Sharing privileges are now set to “Host Only,” so instructors by default are the only ones who can share content in class. See March 2020: Update to sharing settings for Education accounts.

However, if students need to share their work with the group, instructors can allow screen sharing in the host controls. Click the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing Options. Under “Who can share?” choose “Only Host” and close the window. Instructors can also change the default sharing option to All Participants in Zoom settings.

Manage participants in a meeting 

Enable the Waiting Room

The Waiting Room feature is one of the ways to protect a Zoom virtual classroom and keep out those who aren’t supposed to be there. See Secure Your Meetings with Zoom Waiting Rooms 

When enabled, there are two options for who hits the Waiting Room before entering a class:

  1. All Participants will send everyone to the virtual waiting area, where you can admit them individually or all at once.

  2. Guest Participants Only allows known students to skip the Waiting Room and join but sends anyone not signed in/part of your school into the virtual waiting area.

The virtual Waiting Room can be enabled for every class (in settings) or for individual classes at the scheduling level. 

Update: Starting March 31, the Waiting Room feature will be automatically turned on by default. Visit our support page for more information on adjusting Waiting Room settings.See Waiting Room 

How to use Waiting Rooms to Manage Office Hours & Drop-In Visitor Times 

Lock down the chat

Instructors can restrict the in-class chat so students cannot privately message other students. It is recommended to control chat access in the in-meeting toolbar controls (rather than disabling it altogether) so students can still interact with the instructor as needed.

Controlling and Disabling In-Meeting Chat 

Remove a participant

If someone who’s not meant to be there somehow manages to join a virtual classroom, instructors can remove them from the Participants menu. Hover over their name, and the Remove option (among other options) will appear. Click to remove them from a virtual classroom, and they won’t be allowed back in.

Manage participants in a meeting 

Security options when scheduling a class

Zoom allows these and other protection options when scheduling a class and before having to change anything in front of students. See Scheduling meetings. Here are a few of the most applicable:

Additionally, instructors have in-meeting options to control a virtual classroom:

  • Disable video: Turn off a student’s video to block distracting content or inappropriate gestures while class is in session. See Managing participants in a meeting 

  • Mute students: Mute/unmute individual students or all of them at once. See Mute All and Unmute All. Mute Upon Entry (in settings) is also available to keep the clamor at bay when everyone files in.

  • Attendee on-hold: An alternative to removing a user, instructors can momentarily disable their audio/video connections. Click on the attendee’s video thumbnail and select Start Attendee On-Hold to activate. See Attendee on hold.

Important recommendation for teachers

Instructors: It is recommended that instructors NOT post pictures of a virtual class on social media or elsewhere online. While it’s fun to share in the excitement of connecting over Zoom, TWU is  particularly committed to protecting the privacy of students and discourage publicly posting images in a Zoom virtual classroom.

Zoom 101: Securing your Meetings & Virtual Classrooms 

Many TWU faculty and staff utilize web conferencing solutions for department meetings, courses, research, and general collaboration. IT Solutions has published a web conferencing standard so that staff and faculty can conduct University business with secure and convenient access to web conferencing tools.

Specifically, the standard addresses IT Solutions 

  • recommended web conferencing platforms, 

  • general configuration recommendations for all virtual collaboration tools, 

  • best practices for protecting privacy, and 

  • guidance for recording and sharing virtual meetings.

See Standard: Information Security Standard - Web Conferencing 

For additional support, contact the Technology Service Desk at 940-898-3971servicedesk@twu.edutechchat.twu.edu, or submit a request through the Technology Service Catalog.

Details

Article ID: 105636
Created
Fri 4/17/20 11:38 AM
Modified
Fri 8/19/22 1:08 PM

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