Big Brother and Microsoft & Google: Say Goodbye to Privacy
In today’s world, with work from home and virtual teams becoming increasingly common, popular video-conferencing tools and chat applications like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet have become an integral part of daily communication. But are these tools really secure enough to protect our privacy? Recent news stories of baby monitors being hacked and the NSA and PRISM revelations have prompted many to consider their online communication habits and tools more seriously.
It is no longer just expert hackers who can breach our online security, as even young children can do it with ease. Ignoring the need for better security leaves one vulnerable to attacks and the blame cannot be attributed to anyone but oneself. Thus, it is essential to learn about encryption tools and how they can be used to protect our online communication.
A number of secure communication tools are available in the market, and while it may be challenging to choose the right one, it is crucial to find one that is suitable for your needs. Here’s a guide for non-technical experts aiming to reassess their online security:
RedPhone by Whisper Systems is an Android app that encrypts phone calls. Though it is still under development, it is free to install and has received numerous positive reviews.
Jitsi is a secure instant messaging and video calling app that is open-source and still under development. Unfortunately, it is not available on iPhone due to Apple’s restrictions, but it is gaining significant support across the internet.
Silent Circle provides complete, secure communication tools, including Silent Circle Desktop for video security purposes for businesses and individuals. This paid service offers $69.95 per year, and it ensures compliance with the highest levels of security standards, making it a viable option for those looking for secure communication.
Zoom.us, which was developed by ex-Cisco engineers, is another secure communication tool that utilizes AES 128-bit encryption, making it difficult to hack. It is primarily focused on offering HD quality calls with a large group of people.
VSee is another video chat and IM communication tool focused on secure business communication, ranging from a free package to $9, $49, and $299 per month for group usage.
Google’s video-calling platform, Google+ Hangouts, does not offer robust security measures, even when in “off the record mode.” One can never guarantee the privacy standards of Google, primarily because it earns revenue from selling users’ data to advertisers. While some might not mind this revenue strategy, it is essential to consider the privacy risks associated with free communication tools like Google Meet.
The good news is that several more apps, extensions, and products are being developed to ensure secure communication. It is critical to remember that data storage and transmission must both be secured to reap the full benefits of secure video calling and instant messaging. Even if the live call is secure, storing it in an unsecured place could put one’s data at risk.
In conclusion, with the rise of remote work and virtual teams, secure communication tools are becoming more crucial than ever. It is no longer a safe decision to depend on standard communication tools offered by companies like Microsoft and Google. To protect one’s privacy, it is essential to adopt secure communication tools and take full responsibility for online security.