DICT warns vs security risks of using video, teleconferencing applications

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THE DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) reminded the public to take measures to be safe in using video and teleconferencing applications amid security issues that have emerged recently.

“Video and Teleconferencing software and tools are now being widely used by millions of Filipinos for work, as the enhanced community quarantine is imposed by the Philippine Government,” the DICT said in an advisory on Tuesday.

“However, a number of security issues have recently surfaced for certain Video and Teleconferencing Applications, including allegations regarding the activation of the device’s video camera without the user knowing,” it added.

The department’s cybersecurity bureau, for its part, urged users to “take appropriate steps to be more cybersafe and secure” in using such applications.

It said a user can set up his meeting as private, and he should not share or announce his meeting ID number on social media or messaging platforms. He can also secure his meetings with passwords.

The host should also be notified when people join, and he should carefully inspect the list of participants periodically.

Other suggestions are to carefully control screen sharing and recording; keep camera and mic turned off unless needed; and be aware of everything that’s within view of the camera.

The DICT also advised users to install firewall software from trusted firewall security companies and free browser extensions that block tracking activities of applications such as Chrome’s AdBlock Plus and Firefox Ad Hacker.

“When not in use, cover your webcam as some hackers have the capability to turn it on without you knowing,” the department added. — A.L. Balinbin