TeamViewer is an Internet-based software application used for remote access, support, file sharing, and teleconferencing. It enables a user to view another computer’s screen and perform actions as if they were directly in front of the native device. This is helpful for users who have personal devices they use at home and company-issued devices they use at work; when the TeamViewer application is installed on both devices, a user can access files and complete tasks on their work computer from home or vice versa.
TeamViewer is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome operating systems, as well as Android, Apple, and Windows mobile devices and tablets. It is available as a free download for individual users, and commercial enterprises can license TeamViewer as a monthly subscription.
Security and privacy concerns
TeamViewer uses an industry-recognized AES 256-bit encryption standard as well as brute force protection, so many users feel comfortable and protected when accessing or sharing potentially sensitive information. However, several TeamViewer security breaches and privacy concerns loom in recent history.
In 2016, numerous TeamViewer users described unauthorized device takeovers in which the TeamViewer application launched and appeared to be operated by an unknown remote user. Some accounts reported that the remote user(s) opened web browsers, leveraged saved passwords, and accessed and drained PayPal accounts. TeamViewer reported that the breaches were due to weak passwords and users’ lack of multi-factor authentication.
Again in 2017, a bug in the TeamViewer software update presented an opportunity for hackers to take control of another user’s session and exploit the captive device for sensitive files or other information. Although the effects were less widespread and a patched update was deployed relatively quickly, the repeated offense a year later made many users lose confidence in the safety of TeamViewer.