The Best Video Conferencing Apps for Privacy
Following the 2020 global pandemic, video conferencing has become a regular part of our lives. Even after the pandemic ends, video conferencing and video chatting will still be prevalent — especially in workplaces that have decided to stay fully or mostly remote.
Unfortunately, the rise of video chatting did come with the rise of hacked video calls. If we’re going to keep using video conferencing apps on a regular basis, we should use secure apps that prioritize privacy.
When selecting a secure video calling app, the most important feature to look for is end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption keeps your video calls between you and the other caller(s). It prevents any third parties from gaining access to your calls. Several video conferencing apps on this list have other features that make them secure, but end-to-end encryption should be one of the first things to look for.
The most secure video conferencing apps in 2021
GoToMeeting is a video conferencing solution for businesses that uses 128-bit AES encryption and SSL. It’s compatible with mobile and desktop and both versions are encrypted. The company that owns GoToMeeing, LogMeIn, is also GDPR compliant, so users have a right to know all the data that’s gathered about them when using GoToMeeting. Unlike some of the other options on this list, GoToMeeting isn’t free to use; it costs $12 per month to host meetings with up to 150 participants and $16 per month to host meetings with up to 250 participants. GoToMeeting regularly hits high marks for privacy and security, however, so the cost may be worth it for companies that want secure video calls.
Signal is a secure messaging and video calling app that is open-source and uses end-to-end encryption. As it’s open-source and a popular app, cybersecurity experts regularly check Signal’s code for vulnerabilities. Although Signal is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux, only the mobile versions allow you to make video calls. Plus, video chats can only take place between two users. With this in mind, Signal’s video chatting function is more suited for personal than business use.
In 2020, when the popular video conferencing platform Zoom had several privacy and security issues at the start of the pandemic, many businesses switched to Microsoft Teams. Teams, being owned by Microsoft, has received criticism concerning privacy and security, too, however. The app currently only supports encryption when it’s sent and uploaded, but not in transit. In other words, no end-to-end encryption.
Microsoft recently announced end-to-end encryption is coming very soon to Teams, as well as other important privacy features. With these coming updates and Teams’s useful integration with Office 365 (a preferred software of large and small businesses alike), Microsoft Teams may soon be a secure video chatting option for business calls.
Viber is an encrypted messaging app that also allows video calls on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux. The app allows for video calls and group chats, so you’re not limited to 1:1 video calling. Both messages and video calls on Viber are encrypted and the company doesn’t keep user data. Those who want to make personal video calls can use Viber for free, but the app also offers paid solutions for businesses. Also, Viber’s encryption features are activated by default when you install the app.
Jitsi is an open-source video conferencing solution that is free to use and doesn’t require an account to set up. Jitsi does not provide end-to-end encryption. Plus, the owner of the server where the data passes (which is usually Jitsi) can see your data. However, there is a way to make Jitsi more secure. If you set up Jitsi with your own server, only you can see the data. Many companies recommend Jitsi for this reason, as it can be secured with some technical know-how, and it’s open-source.
Wire is a free and open-source app that allows video calling and conferencing. Owned by Swiss GmbH, Wire allows video calls with up to 10 people, with secure file sharing and screen sharing. As the company behind Wire is based in Switzerland, the app adheres to European and Swiss data protection laws and uses the Proteus protocol for end-to-end encryption. Wire also doesn’t sell usage analytics or data and doesn’t require a phone number to sign up.
As the native video chatting app for Apple products, most people overlook FaceTime as an option. But with end-to-end encryption and no way for Apple to decrypt your conversations, it’s a secure choice for video conferencing. Apple also doesn’t store user or location information. It can support up to 32 participants and is free to use on all macOS, iOS, and iPadOS devices.
Linphone is an open-source Voice over IP (VoIP) platform that provides end-to-end encryption for audio and video calls. It uses both 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryption and a state-of-the-art ciphering key to protect conversations. From a security perspective, Linphone is also customizable. It allows organizations to easily integrate their own encryption engines and developers can configure the maximum number of participants allowed on a call.
Secure your video conferencing
Whether you’re on a business call or chatting with friends, you want your conversations to be private and secure. While some video calling apps may be popular or easy to use, it doesn’t always mean they’re secure. Fortunately, you have many options when it comes to secure video conferencing apps.
Before you download a new video chatting app, check their privacy and security policies to see what kind of encryption they use (if any) and which security features they’ve implemented. When you’re having secure conversations with family, friends, and colleagues, you’ll be glad you checked.
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