Google Tightens Security For Meet Video Conferencing Tool

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Securing video chats. New security features for Meet videoconferencing platform aims to halt uninvited users gate crashing meetings

Google has revealed new security features for its video conferencing platform, Meet.

With the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world in April 2020, Google had announced that it was opening up its former business focused Meet app to the wider consumer market, in an effort to combat the growing usage of video conferencing app Zoom.

Google had previously offered video conferencing capabilities for years via its Google Hangouts tool, which is now known as Google Meet‎.

Toughened security

But in April, with most of the world enduring Covid-19 enforced lockdowns, Google announced that any user would be able to host free video conferences on Meet (limited for 60 minutes, although this won’t be enforced until September).

Consumers versions of Zoom have a 40 minute video meeting limit.

Usage of rival app Zoom spiked dramatically during the Coronavirus pandemic, despite security concerns which saw uninvited people ‘gate crash’ Zoom meetings.

And now in an effort to ensure that noting like that happens on Meet, Google’s new features look to prevent the participation of uninvited users in video meetings.

The company revealed the enhancements for Meet in a blog post.

“With people relying on Meet now more than ever, we’re working hard on new ways to keep video collaboration secure,” the company wrote .” In the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out new security controls to help ensure that only intended participants are let into a video meeting.”

“First, we’re giving meeting hosts increased control over who can ‘knock’ and join their meetings,” it wrote. “Enhanced meeting knocking builds on existing controls that require those not included on a meeting’s calendar invite to explicitly knock and ask to be admitted to a meeting.”

“Once an attendee is ejected, they won’t be able to attempt to join the same meeting again by knocking, unless the host re-invites them,” said the firm.

“If a knocking request from a user has been denied multiple times, the user will be automatically blocked from sending more requests to join the meeting,” it added.

Safety locks

Another security feature will see meeting hosts being given “advanced safety locks so they can better protect meetings with a few simple clicks.”

The host for example can decide which methods of joining (via calendar invite or phone, for example) require users to obtain explicit approval to join.

And safety locks will block all anonymous users’ (users not logged into a Google account) attempts to join a meeting.

“These features add to the protections we’ve already put in place to prevent brute-force attacks, so even if an attacker guesses the meeting code, they wouldn’t be able to enter the meeting without the host’s permission,” said Google. “If the host mistakenly admits the attacker, the chat and present locks would help prevent the meetings from getting disrupted. Finally, if any abuse were to occur, users can report it directly within the meeting.”

It should be noted that Zoom has also improved its security in response to multiple reports of “zoombombing”.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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