Dark Side of Zoom and Zoombombing

The video conferencing available via Zoom has been enormously helpful during this sheltering-in place.  However, it has received attention for privacy concerns (thanks to my sister for the following references).

From NPR (4/3/20) A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side — And An FBI Warning

An excerpt:

“a new form of harassment known as “Zoombombing,” in which intruders hijack video calls and post hate speech and offensive images such as pornography. It’s a phenomenon so alarming that the FBI has issued a warning about using Zoom…

Researchers have turned up flaws in Zoom’s software that could let hackers spy through a computer’s webcam or microphone. Zoom says it released fixes for these issues on Wednesday…The website Motherboard found that Zoom was sharing data with Facebook, even data on people who are not Facebook users.”

FBI Warning: FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking During COVID-19 Pandemic

The following steps can be taken to mitigate teleconference hijacking threats:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
  • Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.

If you were a victim of a teleconference hijacking, or any cyber-crime for that matter, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Additionally, if you receive a specific threat during a teleconference, please report it to us at tips.fbi.gov or call the FBI Boston Division at (857) 386-2000.

Advice to avoid hackers from stealing user credentials:  Don’t click on links in Zoom chats from people that you don’t know or when they start with double slashes “\\”.

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