The potential risk of screen sharing

Imagine you’re in a web conference, sharing your screen, when all of a sudden a chat window pops open because you forgot to close the app. Or worse, you forget that your screen is being shared and start typing your own chat message. Well, it happens to the best of us. It actually did just the other day, to a colleague. And it made us think.

Sharing your screen during an online conference can be very risky actually. Not only could you tick a business partner off with a chat message. At the end of a meeting, when a participant’s screen has been shared and the phone conference ends, the participant will often open his mail client before the host can end the meeting. So anybody still in the meeting could read the messages. And if undisclosed files are opened – well, you get the picture.

Users need to be aware what exactly is being shared, at all times. A Mac user sharing his screen with Citrix GoToMeeting can only show his entire screen. Sharing a single app is only possible with Windows. And it is easy to forget. Skype on the other hand – which we do not consider a web conferencing solution, but which serves for demonstration purposes – will not let you forget that someone is seeing your screen or parts of it, by marking the area in question with a red frame.

Now we don’t think web conferencing tools must necessarily go that far. But it should be easily distinguishable to anyone sharing his screen that he is doing so. So we are debating if this should weigh in as a security criteria rather than a mere usability feature.

What do you think? Is this only a minor inconvenience, or do you also regard it as a security risk?

Why can’t you be like all the other tools? – Voxwire and its shortcomings

Voxwire is a basically good online conferencing solution. The user interface is very well-structured and all the basic functionalities are included. But during our tests we were disappointed. And here is why:

  • If you want to activate application sharing you have to install a software, which is a common practice. However, Voxwire demands that you close your browser after the installation, which means you have to leave the meeting and reenter again.
  • File sharing is not as easy as it sounds since the tool makes it hard for you find and understand the function.
  • After all our testing we still don’t know how a meeting can be ended. You can close your browser window, but the meeting continues.

Even though Voxwire shows a lot of promise the online collaboration tool seems reluctant to reveal its functionalities. The basis is good though, and we believe that the next version could greatly improve with some minor changes.

Read the whole evaluation.