How to protect your virtual events from cyberattack

February 17, 2022

By Luca Licata

Hybrid working has led to enterprises having to rethink their approach to cybersecurity.

Over a four-month-period last year, Deloitte reported that over 500,000 people globally were affected by breaches involving video conferencing users’ personal data being stolen and sold on the dark web. In Switzerland, in April last year alone 350 cyberattacks took place compared to a norm of between 100 and 150 attacks.

Enterprises are now highly focused on making sure their suppliers meet their in-depth security reviews. As a virtual and hybrid events company, it’s important that we have the opportunity to prove that not only are our applications secure, but those of our partners and suppliers are, too. As part of our security measures, we regularly bench-test our applications and comply with Open Web Application and Security Project (OWASP) standards.

For event planners and other members of your hybrid team, one of the largest threats not only comes from applications, but from their own communications and how they exchange information about their events. This is especially true for financial institutions, which are the main targets of phishing attacks.

Thirty five percent of people surveyed by the technology firm GreatHorn said, “people impersonation attacks” were their top email threat in 2020. These attacks don’t just originate from outside your company, they can come from malicious individuals working inside it as well. For event planners whose presenters are CEOs, heads of state and other high-profile individuals, cyberattacks and data breaches add another layer of complexity to their jobs.

Among the steps your teams can take to secure your events, one of the most important is ensuring the event management company you use has a producer inside all of your large scale webcasts. This minimises the risk of defacing and other attacks taking place. The producer not only handles the presenter, but monitors and guards the environment to make sure hacktivists or any unauthorised person can’t access your presenters or the event itself. Your event platforms should also authenticate presenters and users for each event. If you’re using a combination of platforms, ensure your presenters can access all the solutions they need to deliver their talk using a single sign-on. This creates a gate or bottleneck for any would-be attackers and significantly improves security.

Event planners can also make it as difficult as possible for hacktivists and reduce the risk of issues arising from human error by always asking themselves these questions:

  1. How do you know the person you’re talking to or emailing is really who they say they are? Impersonation attacks on email can appear like they’re from your colleagues, customers or a supplier. If anyone asks you for sensitive information about an event that could be used as a way to circumnavigate security, that’s reason for suspicion.
  2. Are you sharing event login details with your presenters the most secure way possible? Files that contain login information should be protected by a username and password. Passwords and the file itself should also be sent to recipients by different media.
  3. Do you have the tools you need to deliver secure events from home? If you’re WFH, make sure your computer is protected with antivirus software, regular virus scans, firewalls, and a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you share connections with other people where you live it’s even more important that your connection is protected to avoid viruses or problems that might impact your company’s internal network. Cybersecurity training and knowledge to safeguard yourself from attack and the company you work for is also essential.

Threats to events in the future could come from tactics as diverse as video morphing and hackers accessing information through home devices. For event planners and enterprises, the real challenge will be sourcing scalable technology and services that can free them up to focus on the message and not whether it’s being securely delivered.

Find out how wtv. can make your virtual events more secure.

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