Security Concerns for Businesses Due to Rise of Work From Home
The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the world in various ways. For the first time in the history of this world, millions of people spent weeks locked inside their homes. Businesses across the world switched to work from home mode. Several voices and video calling applications enabled the widespread adoption of this new work culture. Every day, millions of people would engage in work conversations, which would often include sensitive information. Soon enough, corporates began questioning the security of calls made with these voice and video calling apps.
Can hackers hack phone calls between company employees and steal financial information?
Can competitors and other third parties eavesdrop on these calls and steal company trade secrets?
The concept of E2EE, or end-to-end encryption, had the answer to all these burning security questions.
What is End-to-End Encryption of Phone Calls?
E2EE of phone calls is a secure communication technique. In E2EE, cryptography-based encryption ensures that when a sender sends data, only the intended receiver can see the data. After a sender sends data, an algorithm encrypts or scrambles the data into an unreadable form. In this unreadable form, the data is thereafter sent to the receiver. Upon receiving the encrypted data, the receiver decrypts it and obtains the original data sent.
In this way, only the sender and receiver are privy to the contents of the data exchanged between them. It is not possible for any third party to snoop into this data and observe its contents.
How Do Encrypted Phone Calls with E2EE Work?
Encrypted phone calls with end-to-end encryption security use the concept of asymmetric cryptography. In this concept, every user has two keys – a public key and a private key. The public key of the user is visible to all other users. The user’s private key is stored in the user’s device and is not visible to others. These keys then use cryptography-based encryption algorithms to encrypt and decrypt any communication by the user device.
Jack and Tom both use end-to-end encryption calling applications to make encrypted phone calls. Jack wants to initiate an encrypted phone call with Tom. Jack opens the end-to-end encryption calling application on his device and calls up Tom. Jack’s device uses Tom’s public key to encrypt Jack’s words during the call. The encrypted version of Jack’s words is then sent to Tom’s device. Tom’s device then uses Tom’s private key to decrypt the encrypted message from Jack. Thus, Tom is able to hear the original version of Jack’s spoken words. The process is reversed when Tom speaks to Jack.
Benefits of Encrypted Phone Calls With E2EE
Encrypted phone calls with end-to-end encryption security are truly the gold standard of private and secure communication. E2EE security offers the following benefits to users:
- Protection against hackers: Under E2EE security, hackers can only get an unreadable version of any data exchanged between the sender and receiver. Without access to the receiver’s private keys, the hacker is unable to decrypt any message. Therefore, it is impossible for hackers to snoop into the contents of a message in transit between users. Company staff can thus share sensitive financial information without any fear of hackers intercepting such information.
- Protection against snooping by service providers: In E2EE, the private decryption keys of every user are stored in the user’s device. Not even the service provider of the end-to-end encryption platform stores these private keys or has access to them. Thus, the service providers cannot find out the contents of communication between any two users of the E2EE platform. E2EE assures businesses that their call data contents are always secure.
- Freedom to communicate without any fear of intimidation or leaks: End-to-end encryption encourages the free flow of information between users with no risk of third parties listening to them. Company employees can communicate freely without fear of third parties leaking their data to competition.
- Tamperproof communication between users: End-to-end encryption ensures that there is no tampering of the messages sent in encrypted phone calls.
Are There Any Vulnerabilities of E2EE?
Encrypted phone calls with end-to-end encryption security are the most secure mode of communication between users today. However, even E2EE can be vulnerable. The two endpoints – sender and receiver – are the only points where E2EE may be vulnerable. People with unauthorised access to your device can impersonate you and manipulate data communicated by your device. Therefore, E2EE can only be vulnerable if the device of the sender or receiver is in the wrong hands. So, endpoint security is of paramount importance.
How do we protect the endpoints from malicious actors?
The following precautions can help secure the endpoints in E2EE:
- Access of device by only authorised personnel
- Strong password practices
- Two-factor authentication
- Strong firewall protection and content filtering
- Strong anti-spam and antivirus protection
- Constant upgrading of all security measures to their latest versions
Takeaways for Businesses
Even though the number of COVID-19 cases has reduced for some time, work from home is here to stay. Going forward, more and more business communications shall take place during phone calls – voice as well as video. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to develop a secure infrastructure for online communication. Encrypted phone calls with end-to-end encryption security offer the best solution in this regard.
Even though encrypted phone calls with E2EE may be vulnerable at endpoints, it is the most secure communication mode today. Besides, the right partners can help provide world-class security for such endpoints. Businesses can work with experienced service providers to establish a secure internet and communication infrastructure. Such infrastructure can have E2EE security along with highly secure user nodes, with world-class anti-hacking protection.
With a robust, secure communication infrastructure in place, businesses will be able to prevent future leaks of sensitive information. They can then focus on growing their remote workforce in leaps and bounds, thus reducing manpower costs significantly.