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 “\\”.

David Brooks: “Kindness Is A Skill”

Earlier this week, David Brooks posted a thoughtful commentary that’s worth a read.  The article ostensibly is working through negotiations over disagreements but has useful points for both healthcare professionals and for everyone else.

NY Times: Kindness Is a Skill

An excerpt:

The all-purpose question. “Tell me about the challenges you are facing?” Use it when there seems to be nothing else to say…

Gratitude. People who are good at relationships are always scanning the scene for things they can thank somebody for.

Never sulk or withdraw. If somebody doesn’t understand you, not communicating with her won’t help her understand you better.

Reject either/or. The human mind has a tendency to reduce problems to either we do this or we do that. This is narrowcasting. There are usually many more options neither side has imagined yet…

Presume the good. Any disagreement will go better if you assume the other person has good intentions

Devil’s Golf Course, Death Valley