As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the larger part of the population to stay indoors, there has been a significant rise in the use of video conferencing apps for both personal and professional reasons. But how safe are these virtual communication platforms? And what role does Blockchain technology has to play in enhancing the security protocols of the same? The blog hereby offers answers to all such queries.
Video Conferencing in the Time of COVID-19
Nationwide lockdowns, might have put a dent on our daily activities, by confining us to our homes, but it has hardly affected the workflow. Most of us are engaged in business as usual through remote working. Homes have transitioned into mini offices, where for communication with the team and clients, we are dependant on various remote working and video conferencing apps.
It’s not just for work alone, as people have been connecting with friends and family over these video conferencing apps as well, leading to a sudden surge in their use. According to Statista and Priori Data, the global downloads of such apps have spiked by more than 100 percent in March.
While people are dependant on these apps, for communication amid the current crisis, there have been multiple complaints filed against these apps, all concerning privacy issues, raising serious questions regarding their security.
Security Issues with Video Conferencing Apps
When you are in the middle of an intense brainstorming session with your team or having a crucial meeting with a client, security and privacy concerns are the last things you want nagging at the back of the mind. While video conferencing apps have been in use for years, their extensive usage is a recent occurrence, which has brought into the light the major security loopholes that most have. We have mentioned a few below:
There have been multiple complaints by users against this practice of video hijacking, where hackers infiltrate the meetings and disrupt it by threatening or making racial comments. Most of these apps allow users to generate a meeting and assign a meeting ID (number-based URL) to all the participants. The ID is quite easy for hackers to replicate, following which they can crash a meeting or gather critical information by listening in on the discussion.
Lear more: Hashcash blockchain gaming platform.
Lack of End-to-end Encryption
The end-to-end encryption protocol allows secure communication between two or more individuals on a virtual platform. It ensures that no one outside of the respective groups can breach the communication. Most of the apps are devoid of this security feature, and complaints from the users have been piling up.
Many have been accused of having in-app surveillance features, attention tracking where the app company enables a host to check whether a participant had clicked away from the window for more than 30 seconds. Although it might be of benefit to a few, nevertheless it does interfere with user privacy.
Trading User Data
Certain video conferencing apps have been accused of selling user data to social media and ecommerce corporations for advertising.
Although all of the charges are under investigation and have been denied by concerned companies, it has raised significant concern among users, who are left with no other option but to avail the same. If only, there was a way to ensure absolute privacy and security of the user!
Also read: The Role of Blockchain in Shaping the Post-Pandemic World
Blockchain to the Rescue
Blockchain technology has the potential to usher a new era in communication by ensuring absolute security to the users. Integrated with the existing system, it can guarantee high-security communications.
The DLT is beyond centralized control and removes any third-party intermediaries existing within a system. Unlike the usual video conferencing apps, that run on flimsy and questionable security protocol, blockchain provides the developers with an open-source network, on which they can build robust communication applications. It guarantees the highest level of security and privacy of the user data.
The user messages are encrypted by default without extracting any information from the users on their decentralized servers. Even there is a hack attempt, the cybercriminal will not be able to decrypt the data.
A blockchain-based communication app ensures fast and trusted communications among the users over a decentralized platform. The high scalability of DLT, allows any existing system to fortify their structure by seamless integration.
Another way that Blockchain can revolutionize virtual communication is through Dapps, which will allow the users to conduct HD quality video conferencing, P2P audio and video calling, decentralized file storage, messaging and more. May be fewer in numbers, but there are such blockchain-based apps available for the users. The problem here is a lack of awareness, rather than a lack of technological support. It falls upon the part of the users, to raise the demand for such secured applications. Hopefully, the present scenario will accelerate that process, and usher a new era of decentralized and secured virtual communication.