What Is the Most Secure Video Conferencing Software? – VICE

Posted: March 26, 2020 at 6:33 am

Now that millions of people are practicing social distancing and working their office jobs from home because of coronavirus, video conferencing is more popular than ever. Whether you're just attending your regular work meetings, grabbing a beer with friends, or catching up with your extended family spread across the globeall these fun activities now live thanks to video conferencing apps.

The peoples choice, more often than not, is Zoom. But it doesnt have to be.

While Zoom offers end-to-end encrypted chatmeaning only the participants in the exchange have access to the contents of the messagesits video calls are not encrypted in the same way by default. Hosts, however, can enable end-to-end encryption in video calls too, according to the company.

The app has a troubled record when it comes to security and privacy. Thanks to a creepy feature, hosts can track whether you are paying attention to the meeting, and the companys privacy policy allows it to collect all sorts of personal data.

Last year, Zoom had a flaw that allowed hackers to turn on someones webcam without their consent, and without them noticing. On top of that, when someone had the Zoom app closed and even uninstalled, the software left a web server up and running, allowing for an automated install of the app if someone invited the user to a Zoom call. Finally, Zoom makes it really hard for you to join calls without installing the app, even though thats possible.

So, what other apps can you use instead of Zoom?

The obvious choice, if you have an Apple device, is FaceTime. Apples video (and audio) conferencing app has been end-to-end encrypted for a very long time. On top of that, its incredibly easy to use, and allows for up to 32 participants. The downside, of course, is that its only for iOS and Mac users. So if you use Windows, the most popular operating system in the world, youre out of luck.

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A great cross-platform alternative is the little known Jitsi, which is end-to-end encrypted, and has apps for Android and iOS, but also just works in a browser, without having to install anything. Jitsi is also open source, meaning anyone can inspect and contribute to the code. I have used it occasionally and it always worked very well.

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WhatsApp is the most popular chat app on the planet, its end-to-end encrypted with state-of-the-art protocols, and is incredibly user-friendly. Its also cross platform, although video calls dont work on desktop. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of enterprise software, but if you're just looking to connect with a couple of friends or family, it's more than enough.

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Finally, one of our favorite end-to-end encrypted chat apps, Wire, offers group video chat, but only to paying customers.

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If you want something thats easy to use, but not end-to-end encrypted, you can always fall back on Googles alternative: Meet.

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Zoom has become the de-facto video calling app in the last few days, but it's far from perfect. Its privacy policy is vague and seems to indicate the company could sell some of your data. Calls are not end-to-end encrypted by default and it's unclear if they can be at all.

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What Is the Most Secure Video Conferencing Software? - VICE

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