If you have been working from home over the last several months, you may have recently become familiar with a product called TeamViewer. As one of the most common tools used to connect to remote computers and to host screen-sharing meetings, TeamViewer use has exploded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s answer some questions about this product and its use.

What is TeamViewer?

Founded in 2005, TeamViewer is a software application that allows remote meetings, screen sharing, and remote technical support. It is available for free for personal use, and for business use with a paid license. It is most commonly used to allow technicians to remotely view and control a user’s desktop to provide technical support, and to host web based meetings with audio, video, and screen sharing capabilities.

Is it safe?

TeamViewer uses strong encryption to ensure the remote session between users are secure. However, as with any tool that allows a third party to access your computer, there is the potential for malicious use. There are two types of risks to be aware of: compromised passwords, and social engineering scams.

Urgent: Windows Teamviewer Vulnerability

If you are running Teamviewer on a Windows machine, please be aware of the August 2020 patch that fixes a flaw which could allow hackers to steal passwords remotely.   Applying this patch will protect you from this flaw.

Compromised Passwords

TeamViewer can be configured to run on your PC all the time in the background. This is very useful if you need to connect to a computer frequently without anyone being physically at the machine. Access is granted through the use of a 9-digit unique ID and a password. If you have set TeamViewer up yourself, make sure to choose a unique password. Breaches have occurred in the past where individuals have used the same password for TeamViewer as they have on other websites such as online shopping. Hacks of online retailers have in turn dumped millions of email address/password combinations onto the Dark Web, which a hacker can obtain and try to use against a TeamViewer login. Using a unique password for each of your online identities is the best defense against this.

Social Engineering

The second risk relies not on any technical exploit, but on simple human nature. Hackers will call individuals pretending to be from a legitimate service company (such as Microsoft) and offer to assist the person with removing malware from their PC. They will instruct them to install TeamViewer from a link provided, and then use it to gain access to their system for the purposes of stealing information or infecting the PC with malware.

How to protect yourself:

  • Legitimate software companies like Microsoft do not cold call individuals to fix their computer problems. Do not follow any instructions given by a caller such as this.
  • Do not install applications of any kind when instructed to unless you initiated the service request yourself and have verified the identity of the person you are talking to.
  • Do not give your Teamviewer ID and password to anyone who you do not trust to connect to your PC.

Triella can help your firm setup remote access with high degree of security and reliability. Call us now at 647.426.1004 to get started!

Sean Kirby is a Help Desk Manager at Triella.  We are a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium-sized firms. Sean can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to our blog page. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Webroot Reseller.

© 2020 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

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