Abdel Rahman Ahmed - Cairo

In light of the continued quarantine measures and the commitment of social divergence to face the spread of the Corona virus, the Egyptians miss one of the most important manifestations of the blessed month of Ramadan, which is mutual visits and family feasts.

This prompted many families and friends to search for innovative technology-based solutions to communicate and gather at Ramadan tables despite the distance, so that the idea of ​​a "virtual breakfast" would emerge as a safe alternative.

The idea - which started to spread in the world - is based on the agreement of several families to communicate during breakfast by means of a group video chat app over the phone or computer, which allows them to exchange conversations, discussions and jokes, and provides some of the intimacy of the gathering in this blessed month without leaving the house.

We review with you some free and distinctive applications that can be used to implement the "virtual breakfast" idea, and offer some tips for a safe use of these applications.

Google Hangouts Meet Google Hangouts Meet
enables you to create secure, encrypted, and high-quality video meetings of up to 25 people for the free version.

The application is easy to use, you can share the meeting link with your family members or friends so that they can easily join you, whether through the browser on desktop devices or the application on mobile phones.

Recently, Google launched the Google Meet app, which is the new name for the "Hangouts dead" service that is still available in the old brand for mobile applications.

Google DUO
is another app from the giant Google company, which allows communication between friends and family through text messages and group video calls of high quality, and it is available for smartphones, computers and even smart displays.

The free version of the app enables unlimited video calls with up to 12 participants, and supports full encryption of voice, text and video communications on mobile and web.

Many families use Skype to meet in Ramadan  (Reuters)

Skype is
one of the most popular applications for texting, voice and video calls, and it has taken the lead in previous years, but it has declined during the recent period, despite the advantages it offers.

Skype has very high quality audio and video calls, supports group video calls of up to 50 people, and can be used by the browser or application on mobile devices.

Microsoft Teams is
a distinguished application for video meetings from Microsoft, which has received a large turnout recently after the outbreak of Corona, and companies resorting to remote work, to increase the number of video calls that were made using it by 1000% during last March, and the number of its users reached To a new record, it reached 44 million a day.

According to Microsoft, the application's video system uses two-factor authentication and encrypted data to provide a secure user experience.

Facebook Messenger
The app provides hosting group video calls of up to 8 people, in high quality audio and video.

And Facebook announced Friday the launch of its new video call service, "Messenger Rooms", which is part of the "Facebook Messenger" service, and allows users to host video calls that involve up to 50 people.

The popular WhatsApp app allows video chats for up to 4 people.

Although this number is considered small compared to other applications, the ease of dealing with the application and its availability on most phones and the limited contact with it on the contacts registered with the user, makes it a suitable option if the communication between two families to four at most.

Technical reports indicate that WhatsApp's upcoming update will include an increase in the number of participants in the group video chats.

Zoom application is one of the most important video applications that spread after the outbreak of the Corona epidemic (networking sites)

ZOOM Cloud Meetings
Although this application has jumped to the forefront since the outbreak of the Corona epidemic and has become the most important and widespread online meeting application, we have opted for its inclusion in the end because of its recent security and technical problems.

The application is characterized by high quality in sound and image, and ease of use. Unlike many competing programs, the free version provides an invitation to a large number of people, up to a hundred, to join you via video.

But the widespread application and the number of its users exceeded 200 million active users, attracted the attention of hackers, and it appeared in it many security holes that prompted countries and institutions to prevent its use, even after the developers announced the reform and correct most of these holes

Nevertheless, this application remains a distinct option for making a group video call, while adhering to the security advice provided by cyber security experts.

Security Tips
Mohamed Abdel-Baset El-Noby, director of cyber security at the security company that specializes in information security, has published on his Facebook page a set of tips for users of the Zom application in particular, on top of which is putting a password on the chat room, and not sharing its link in any public or private place Social Media.

The Nubian - an Egyptian security researcher and moral hacker - urged users to activate the waiting rooms feature to review the participants, close the room after entering the concerned parties, and delete any uninvited participants who are discovering their presence, while making sure to disable some features such as screen sharing.

The security researcher warned against pressing any links inside the group conversation or even in a single conversation.

In general, he called on Nubians to avoid downloading any unknown applications or using pirated operating systems and applications, taking care to download applications from stores and official sites, and to update operating systems and applications quickly to avoid any vulnerabilities discovered.