Cyber Security: Zoom Bombing

Businesses, schools and people are increasingly becoming more reliant on video chatting now that we are all social distancing, thanks to COVID 19. Zoom is an extremely popular video conferencing platform that many are relying on, but maybe it’s just a little too popular. At the end of March, a different type of cyber-attack entered the world, Zoom bombing.  Zoom bombing is an unwanted intrusion of an individual (Zoom bomber) hacking a call and causing a disruption. The results of a Zoom bombing attack can be quite disturbing.

Zoom hacking issues are happening all over the world, from “virtual happy hours” between friends to sensitive, high-level government gatherings, or even lectures or lessons between students and teachers. Several things can happen when a Zoom bomber takes over a meeting.  These can range from the bomber just taking the pen tool and scribbling all over the screen, to shouting profanities and racial slurs, or even putting up pornographic images or videos. Some of these can be quite disturbing, especially if children are present (whether it’s the child on a Zoom call with their class, or a child is present in a home office while and individual is on a call).

There are several ways the meeting organizer can safeguard each meeting.  Here are some helpful tips:

  • Before the Meeting
    • Disable autosaving chats
    • Disable file transfer
    • Disable screen sharing for non-hosts
    • Disable annotations
    • Use per-meeting ID, not personal ID
    • Disable “Join Before Host”
    • Enable “Waiting Room”
  • During the Meeting
    • Assign at least two co-hosts
    • Mute all participants
    • Lock the meeting, if all attendees are present
  • What to do if you are Zoombombed
    • Remove problematic users and disable their ability to rejoin when asked
    • Lock the meeting to prevent additional Zoombombing

Some other helpful hints include not posting Zoom links through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. instead share the Zoom like in a more secure setting, such as email.  Make sure your Zoom has all the latest updates downloaded. And keep a watchful eye while children are using Zoom in a school setting. Be prepared to close out of a meeting very quickly if a Zoom bomber takes over the meeting.  Devoting a few extra minutes of time to safeguard meetings will help keep the Zoom bombers at bay.

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