Monday, 2 Oct 2023

What Are Screen Sharing Apps?

As we move into the new age of social media, it’s becoming more and more common for people to share their screens with other people. Whether you’re trying to show your friend a cool video or just want to see what they’re watching on Netflix, screen sharing has become an integral part of our lives. 

Unfortunately, there are also malicious individuals out there who will take advantage of this technology in order to spy on others, so how do you know if a screen sharing app is secure? Here are some things to consider when choosing one over another. 

Screen sharing apps have come a long way since the early days of VNC. Back then, if someone wanted to get a glimpse of what was happening on your computer, they had to physically be sitting next to you. Now, all they need is an internet connection (and your permission) in order to watch whatever you’re doing. 

In recent years, popular screen sharing services like Google Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, download eshare and many more have emerged as ways for friends and family to connect virtually. However, while these platforms have made it easier to keep up with your loved ones, they can also put them at risk. 

So, if you’ve decided that you want to try out a screen sharing app but don’t know which one to choose, keep reading! We’ll cover everything from which features to look for in a good free service to whether or not it’s safe to use. 

What Are Screen Sharing Apps? 

If you’ve ever used something like GoToMeeting or WebEx, then you already know what a screen sharing app is. They allow you to share your desktop with anyone else who has access to your computer by using a remote control. In most cases, you’ll receive instructions to log in through a username and password, but you can also sign in with public keys or OAuth tokens. 

Here are the basic steps you should follow when using a screen sharing app: 

– Open the app you want to use and click Connect or Sign In. 

– Once connected, you’ll usually get a welcome message and a few options to customize your session. For example, you might be asked to set a password or enter a PIN number. This is called the “screen code” because it allows other users to view only the portion of your screen that you’ve selected. 

– From here, you’ll have full access to the other person’s device. You can navigate around their desktop, open folders, files, and documents, and even send them messages. However, all of this is done through the remote control software, which means they still own the device. If they close the window, the session will end. 

How Do Screen Sharing Apps Work? 

There are two main types of screen sharing software: web-based applications and desktop clients. Both work similarly, but each has its unique benefits and drawbacks. We’ll go over both options below. 

Web-Based Applications 

The best screen sharing software is likely going to be a web application. These applications let you create a session and share it with multiple people at once. However, unlike desktop programs, they require a login every time you start a session. 

When working with a web-based application, you typically won’t need any special equipment. Any standard browser will suffice, so long as the host machine meets certain requirements. 

Desktop Clients 

Desktop clients are much more advanced than web-based apps. They provide a lot more functionality, such as audio and video chatting, instant messaging, and file transfers. Since they run locally on your device, they don’t require a website. Instead, they simply download themselves to your hard drive and install themselves automatically. 

However, there is a downside to running your desktop client. Because they are installed directly onto your system, they can easily be detected by other computers. It’s possible that someone could gain remote access to your system without your knowledge. 

For this reason, desktop clients aren’t always the best option. The tradeoff between security and convenience usually depends on your specific needs. 

Is Screen Sharing Safe? 

While screen sharing apps offer many advantages, there are some downsides. First off, since they’re so easy to use, they can often be abused. Anyone who logs into your account can potentially do anything they want with your computer. 

This isn’t surprising, considering that they are completely isolated from your system. Even though you’ve granted them access, you still own the hardware. As we mentioned above, these applications can be detected by other devices. And while it can be difficult to prove that someone did something malicious, it’s certainly possible. 

Even if the person accessing your screen didn’t intend to steal sensitive information, they could still cause problems. Some viruses and malware can spread quickly via screen sharing. This isn’t exclusive to screen sharing apps, but it’s definitely more likely to happen with them. 

Another thing to think about is whether or not the person you’re sharing your screen with knows what they’re getting themselves into. After all, they signed up for a service so they could connect remotely. But if you were to accidentally share something private, someone could walk away with it. 

On top of that, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to trust whoever you’re connecting with. While it may seem convenient to share your screen with someone you know well, you never really know what kind of person they are. 

There are also some legitimate reasons why someone would want to use a screen sharing app. Maybe they’re looking for help with homework or need to check on a project. Or maybe they just want to see what you’re watching on YouTube or Netflix. Regardless of the purpose, it’s important to protect yourself when using a screen sharing app. 

We recommend using a VPN whenever you’re online. A virtual private network encrypts all of your data before sending it across the internet. This protects your privacy and keeps you anonymous wherever you go. 

Also, use a strong password. When it comes to passwords, less is more. Don’t make it obvious or easy to guess. You should avoid using dictionary words, numbers, and phrases. 

A good rule of thumb is to use a different password everywhere. Your email password should be different from the password you use to shop online. Keep track of all your passwords by writing them down and storing them somewhere safe. 

Once you’ve taken care of those basics, you can feel more confident using a screen sharing app. Just remember that as great as they are, they’re still risky. Be smart and take precautions to protect yourself. 

And if you’re ready to dive deeper into this topic, check out our guide to using a VPN. It goes over everything from setting up your first virtual private network to finding the right provider for your needs.