Advertising
Advertising

Big Brother On Video Calls: Tools To Easily Secure Your Online Calls And Chats

Big Brother On Video Calls: Tools To Easily Secure Your Online Calls And Chats

Big Brother + Microsoft and Google: say goodbye to privacy

Working from home, flexi-time, global teams, remote teams, virtual teams…many of us use popular video-conferencing tools and chat tools for work meetings, collaboration and seeing friends and family. But are there more secure tools out there that we should be using? After the baby monitor hack story in the news (as well as the NSA and PRISM revelations) we should take our online communication habits and tools more seriously.

ICT and computer hacking is not limited to a few expert nerds. Young kids are able to hack computers and systems simply because it’s so easy. And we rarely bother to secure against such things, preferring to blame someone or something else for not doing it for us. Unless you are going to stay off the internet forever, you should read up on what encryption tools your device can have.

A brief overview of the information out there show that it is difficult to know where to begin, and that many security options are specific to a platform or a program. Listed here is a guide for the non-techie-experts who want to re-think their online security and add a few little features for peace of mind.

RedPhone (Android)

Advertising

Keep-Your-Phone-Calls-Private-with-RedPhone-Beta-Android1
    1

      RedPhone by Whisper Systems is an Android app designed to encrypt your phone calls. It has not been perfected yet, but looks very promising. 3G or 4G phones perform better with VoIP, so bear that in mind if you find the quality wavering on a lower data plan. It has received a lot of positive up-votes on the Google Play store, and is free to install. It’s at least worth a try!

      Jitsi (desktop and Android)

      jitsi

        Jitsi is for secure IM and video calling. It is still under development (open-source), so occasional setbacks may occur. Unfortunately it will never be available on iPhone due to restrictions by Apple. Despite that, it is receiving huge support across the internet. In order to benefit from the security features of Jitsi the person you are communicating with must also have it installed – so tell your friends!

        Silent Circle Desktop (Windows desktop)

        Advertising

        eyes_devices.2955fd6df403

          Silent Circle provides a complete secure package for all your communications – Silent Circle Desktop (formerly Silent Eyes) is its video security service for individuals or businesses. At $69.95 a year it is a great option if you don’t want to handle the frustrations that sometimes come with open-source or beta-level products. They recently had to shut down their encrypted email services due to government pressure – they were unwilling to hand over their user’s emails. I like them just for that.

          Gruveo (desktop)

          Gruveo

            This is an interesting new product on the market. An awesome feature is that it doesn’t require a download. What you do is agree on a unique number with the person you want to call in advance (so please make it at least 4 digits long), go to the landing page, type in the number and wait to get connected to your counterpart. The call will take place once both parties have entered the same code.

            Zoom.us (all platforms)

            Zoom.us was developed by ex-Cisco and WebEx engineers, so you know it’s got the expertise behind it. With AES 128-bit encryption (very difficult to crack), and up to 25 meetings/people free, it is pretty nice tool to use for secure business meetings. It’s selling point is offering HD calls with large groups. You can also have private chats within the group chat with members of the call.

            Advertising

            VSee (Windows, Mac desktop, tablet – smart phone apps due 2014)

            vsee

              VSee is for video chat and IM, and starting from a free package with one screen share per day and rising to $9, $49 and $299 per month for group usage. The free package is quite limited if you want it primarily for video usage so expect to pay for this one. A nice asset is that the low bandwidth makes it good to use even on a slow connection.

              Google is “secure”, right?

              Google+ hangouts, as far as my knowledge goes, are not secure (even if you choose “off the record mode”). You can’t really trust the privacy standards of Google because they make their money off of you by selling data to advertisers. The popularity of Google is because a) it’s a great service and b) it’s free. But nothing that great comes for free. You gave Google the right to your data as soon as you signed up. Some people don’t mind – but in hindsight, you may regret not taking a more secure option.

              Take the time to secure yourself!

              There are far more apps, extensions and products being created out there at the moment. AJ Dellinger wrote a fantastic in-depth article on all communications encryption options that is worth checking out if you want to learn how to secure more than just video calls.

              Advertising

              Remember! Data storage as well as data transmission need to be secure in order for you to reap the full benefits of secure video calling and IM. After all, if the video call is stored in an unsecured place (like many), then what’s the point of only the live calling part being secured?!

              Happy encrypting!

              More by this author

              25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast 13 Ways To Make Money While Traveling More Than 20 Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms Big Brother On Video Calls: Tools To Easily Secure Your Online Calls And Chats hacking-hackathon-hacker Hacking: Any Different From “Creative Solution”?

              Trending in Technology

              1 5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language 2 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 3 To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System 4 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 5 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising
              Advertising

              Last Updated on November 5, 2019

              5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language

              5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language

              Learning a new language is no easy feat. While a language instructor is irreplaceable, language learning apps have come to revolutionize a lot of things and it has made language learning much easier. Compared to language learning websites, apps offer a more interactive experience to learn a new language.

              The following language learning apps are the top recommended apps for your language learning needs:

              1. Duolingo

                Duolingo is a very successful app that merged gamification and language learning. According to Expanded Ramblings, the app now counts with 300 million users.

                Duolingo offers a unique concept, an easy-to-use app and is a great app to accompany your language acquisition journey. The courses are created by native speakers, so this is not data or algorithm-based.

                The app is free and has the upgrade options with Duolingo Plus for $9.99, which are add free lessons. The mobile app offers 25 languages and is popular for English-speaking learners learning other languages.

                Advertising

                Download the app

                2. HelloTalk

                  HelloTalk aims to facilitate speaking practice and eliminate the stresses of a real-time and life conversation. The app allows users to connect to native speakers and has a WhatsApp like chat that imitates its interface.

                  There is a perk to this app. The same native speakers available also want to make an even exchange and learn your target language, so engagement is the name of the game.

                  What’s more, the app has integrated translation function that bypasses the difficulties of sending a message with a missing word and instead fills in the gap.

                  Download the app

                  Advertising

                  3. Mindsnacks

                    Remember that Duolingo has integrated gamification in language learning? Well, Mindsnacks takes the concept to another level. There is an extensive list of languages available within the app comes with eight to nine games designed to learn grammar, vocabulary listening.

                    You will also be able to visualize your progress since the app integrates monitoring capabilities. The layout and interface is nothing short of enjoyable, cheerful and charming.

                    Download the app

                    4. Busuu

                      Bussu is a social language learning app. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It currently supports 12 languages and is free.

                      Advertising

                      The functionality allows users to learn words, simple dialogues and questions related to the conversations. In addition, the dialogues are recorded by native speakers, which brings you close to the language learning experience.

                      When you upgrade, you unlock important features including course materials. The subscription is $17 a month.

                      Download the app

                      5. Babbel

                        Babbel is a subscription-based service founded in 2008. According to LinguaLift, it is a paid cousing of Duolingo. The free version comes with 40 classes, and does not require you to invest any money.

                        Each of the classes starts with with a sequential teaching of vocabulary with the help of pictures. The courses are tailor made and adapted to the students’ level, allowing the learning to be adjusted accordingly.

                        Advertising

                        If you started learning a language and stopped, Babbel will help you pick up where you started.

                        Download the app

                        Takeaways

                        All the apps recommended are tailored for different needs, whether you’re beginning to learn a language or trying to pick back up one. All of them are designed by real-life native speakers and so provide you with a more concrete learning experience.

                        Since these apps are designed to adapt to different kinds of learning styles, do check out which one is the most suitable for you.

                        More About Language Learning

                        Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

                        Read Next