Beware of Zoom-bombers
Published April 8, 2020
With social distancing mandates in order until at least the end of April, and three out of every four Americans under statewide lockdown, huge parts of normal life have now moved into the virtual world.
Social visits, executive meetings, classes and more happen over videoconferencing apps, with Zoom being the most popular. The app was downloaded 62 million times during the third week of March, and 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies are now using Zoom.
Zoom’s simplicity is likely the driving factor behind its popularity — and its vulnerability. The FBI is warning of a new kind of scam in which criminals join Zoom meetings with malicious intent.
As they explain it, without protective measures, like passwords and screen-share locks, anyone can join and disrupt a Zoom conference. “Zoom-bombing” is happening more and more often, with hackers hurling racial slurs or displaying graphic content in the middle of classrooms and business meetings.
Some criminals take it one step further by creating bogus domains that impersonate Zoom. When videoconferences are set up on these domains, the hackers will use the opportunity to steal personal information from meeting participants, which they then go on to sell or use for criminal purposes.
The bureau recommends that Zoom users take the following precautions to protect their conferences from being Zoom-bombed:
- Make meetings private by requiring a password or using the waiting room feature, which controls admittance of guests.
- Share teleconference links directly with participants instead of posting them in a public forum, like a social media page.
- Control screen-sharing by choosing “Host Only” in the screen-sharing options.
- Make sure all participants are using updated software
Videoconferencing apps like Zoom are helping millions of Americans maintain a semblance of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow the FBI’s guidelines for secure videoconferencing to avoid getting Zoom-bombed. Stay safe!