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Securing Video With Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

This article was updated on July 13, 2021

It’s no surprise that video usage continues to soar. With the rise of remote work, virtual classrooms, and many of us locked down at home, video has been the bridge we all need to stay connected. Sure, we all expect high quality and brilliant video resolution when being connected, but how many of us think about the importance of security? If you happen to be one of the parents of the children that experienced a “Zoom-bombing,” in which their classroom video was taken over by some unidentified individual, probably a lot. But we should all take security seriously.

A laptop and mobile device with a verify pin code

How Different Industries Use 2FA to Safeguard Their Video Communications

Despite its many benefits, video conferencing tools open the door for fraud and bad actors. Think about this: online fraud is expected to grow to $48 BN in 2023 at 30%, according to Juniper Research. In fact, every single dollar of fraud costs businesses 3X more in the long run. Needless to say, eliminating fraud is of the utmost importance, especially as video use becomes the norm. The FBI recommends exercising due diligence and caution in your cybersecurity efforts, but establishing a strong username and password shouldn’t be the only security measure—user verification is a must. Layering security with two-factor authentication (2FA) helps better protect video platforms and their users.

What Is 2FA?

Two-factor authentication is a popular and proven method for verifying a user's identity to fend off fraud. On top of requiring a password, 2FA requires a phone number to verify the user. An authentication code is sent in the form of SMS (or voice) to the user’s mobile or landline for the user to validate the code.

Some 2FA best practices include ensuring a seamless and easy-to-use experience for the user. And while you want to make it easy for your users, it’s important to put time limits on their PIN and limit the number of attempts they have when entering the wrong code. While this is frustrating, it’s also for their protection. Text-to-speech  options are also important for landlines or for users who aren't active on SMS but more receptive to voice calls. Finally, the global reach of 2FA networks is key as well when you're trying to reach people in foreign countries.

Of course, for some use cases that demand that communications be done in a highly regulated and secure environment, programmable video is critical. With a programmable video API, you can weave video into an existing solution—such as a customer-facing mobile app—or build entirely new services that tailor video to your exact needs without being able to be accessed any other way. 2FA is just icing on the security cake.


Here are some use-cases for companies implementing user verification to secure video:

Telemedicine: There is an increase in healthcare providers now seeing and consulting patients remotely. HIPAA-compliant video-conferencing has enabled doctors to continue with care via mobile, tablet, phone, or laptop. Unfortunately, healthcare has been one of the hardest-hit industries for privacy and data breaches. Electronic health records are lucrative documents on the dark web, and 75% of healthcare organizations have experienced cyber-attacks and data breaches.

Adding two-factor authentication is an easy way to add a layer of security that prevents fraudulent transactions, account takeovers, and other vulnerabilities.

Remote work: With employees working remotely, video meetings, and private video calls, video-collaboration tools have become second nature for employees. And while this has helped keep production rolling, companies everywhere are more susceptible to enormous risk, especially if administrative controls and mandatory authentication are not implemented.

You’ll want to ensure that your employees can authenticate even in the event that they lose, damage, or upgrade their phone. Multiple-device security enables the same 2FA accounts to sync across laptops, desktop, and mobile devices.

Education: While distance learning has become more prevalent than ever, it has drawn digital hijackers. Troublemakers can hijack video calls to stream hate speech or offensive and pornographic content, which has become known as “Zoom-bomboming.” Educators need stronger online security in their digital classrooms.

SMS-based 2FA is applicable to adult students and to parents with younger students, who can validate their identity by entering a time-based one-time password to access classes.

Banking: Banking has always been ripe for fraudsters. With bank visits and financial advisor visits being replaced by video conversations, the need for security is paramount. 2FA is used to validate every user with encrypted video consultations to give customers peace of mind. SMS verification is the most common way to drive verification, and best of all, it's easy to implement and understood by most end-users.

Fitness and Entertainment: As gym and fitness studios are closed, they’re looking to live-stream online video classes to stay engaged with customers. Sessions are usually shared by sending members a video URL via email. But what if someone distributes that link with non-members? Premium content can now be accessed without payment. The same goes for limited-access live showings, talks, and tours. This new normal of video showings need to be protected.

A general best practice, which takes just a few lines of code, is to add a second factor to the verification process to ensure you are accepting logins from the right person.

Even after we come out of this wild 2020, video will remain an everyday part of how we communicate and collaborate. As sensitive information is shared, maintaining trust between users and platforms will be key. Adding two-factor authentication is an easy way to prevent fraudulent transactions, hacks, and malicious activity.

Learn how Vonage Verify can protect your video conversations.



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