Design and Implementation of Automated Video Conference Control System

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INTRODUCTION

The ability to establish a live connection between people at different geographical locations for the purposes of communication using audio-visual devices is referred to as Video Conferencing (Rop and Bett, 2012). The transmission of motion videos and sounds and for that matter multimedia across many geographical locations provides an enabling environment for teleworking and virtual meetings to be held (ITU-T,2003). The communication is done as if the connected parties were in the same room. It must be noted that, teleworking and videoconferencing has been with us for long. Video conferencing has become an interesting research area in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic that has confronted the world. Government agencies and businesses and educational institutions across the world have adopted the concept of Teleworking and video conferencing as the major alternatives to continue driving the economies and getting work done. Virtual meetings using the video conferencing technologies have been adopted and implemented across Governments and businesses to enable a synchronous participation of teleworkers in geographically dispersed locations. Despite the widespread adoption, there has been several reportage regarding the security and privacy of users using video conferencing application for communications (Wakefield, 2020). Cloud-based video conferencing applications like Zoom has been in the media for discussion over security concerns during this COVID-19 era. Zoom bombing, Privacy concerns regarding using video chats online and the alleged routing of video chats through the servers of China were some of the serious security concerns raised by users across the globe (Whittaker, 2020). These security concerns identified in Zoom video conferencing application has lead to researchers developing interest in the security policy of Zoom and the transmission of the meeting encryption keys through Chinese servers. (Bill and John, 2020) examined the encryption that protects meetings in Zoom teleconference application and reveals that the Video Conferencing giants had rolled out their own encryption scheme which they described as having significant weaknesses. Contrary to the Advanced Encryption Scheme 256 (AES-256) encryption for communication data as claimed by Zoom, (Bill and John, 2020) observed that both audio and video streams were all encrypted by AES-128 encryption schemes used in Electronic Code Book (ECB) mode. (Bill and John, 2020) further argues that patterns present in plaintext are preserved during encryption with AES-128 used in ECB mode and hence not recommended. The AES-128 packets are generated by Zoom servers but in some cases are delivered to Zoom meeting participants through servers in China (Bill and John, 2020). These research findings lead to some Government Agencies, Giant companies like Google and businesses warning their employees not to use Zoom video conferencing application for their meetings (Statt, 2020). Zoom video conferencing application came under attack compelling their Chief Executive officer, Eric Yuan to publicly apologise and promise to fix the security issues identified but however said the routing through the servers of China was a mistake (Wakefield, 2020).

Video Conferencing users over the years have debated on the challenges the adoption of video conferencing comes with as against the benefits they derive for their respective companies. One of the major challenges confronting organisations, businesses and Government Agencies from adopting video conferencing technology is security (Honeyman et al, 1998). The fear of video conversation being intercepted via the internet affected the usage and adoption of video conferencing applications prior to the emergence of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Encrypting,the transmission of the data, and the user confidentially were crucial in providing security for video conferencing applications. Whether the systems or communication sessions are hosted on secure or non-secure networks, the security threats and concerns are fundamentally the same. (Rop and Bett, 2012) argues. (Singh, 2006) identified some security and key mechanisms that needs attention to address the video conferencing security in order to prevent attacks through eavesdropping, Denial of Service (DoS), tampering with messages, spoofing and repudiation or forgery. With the increasing use of internet infrastructure and internet protocols (IP), there is an increasing demand for security awareness in the use of IP- Based audio, video and exchange of data (Frost and Sullivan,2006). The easiest and simplest way to use a video conferencing solutions is through an open network which is believed to be associated with high risk as argued by (Frost and Sullivan, 2006). To address the security related concerns associated with using an IP-Based data exchange, audio and video solutions, (Rop and Bett, 2012) proposed steps and measures to secure IP-Based video conferencing applications. Endpoint protection, proper firewall configurations, Network Access Traversal (NAT) configurations, the application of dedicated Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Gatekeepers and Multipoint Control Unit(MCU) configurations were the applicable solutions areas according to (Rop and Bett, 2012). Despite the security measures outlined by (Rop and Bett, 2012), notable among their recommendation for the purposes of our research is the use of encryption methods to prevent the unauthorised monitoring of sessions by hackers or malicious internet users.

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