FBI issues warning as trolls Zoombomb video calls with pornography
America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation has stepped in as trolls continue to use porn to Zoombomb video conferences.
‘As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide,’ the agency said.
‘The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.’
For those not in the know, Zoombombing is when trolls jump into a public video chat and use Zoom’s screensharing feature to display porn or violence.
Here is how the FBI suggests you deal with Zoombombing:
- 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.
Zoom itself has pledged to fix various security issues that have become apparent since the app started getting widespread use after the coronavirus lockdown was put in place.
Despite these warnings and the dangers of Zoombombing, the app is being used by the UK government to hold meetings because of its simplicity and ubiquity.
A government spokeswoman defended Boris Johnson’s use of the app to conduct meetings during the coronavirus lockdown.
‘In the current unprecedented circumstances, the need for effective channels of communication is vital,’ the spokeswoman told BBC News.
She then added that Zoom, which was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in San Jose, is quick to set up between the varying systems used by different government departments.
Somewhat amusingly, the prime minister accidentally revealed the ID number for his Zoom meeting when he posted a picture of it online.
He posted a picture with government ministers – including Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg – reminding the public to ‘stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ and people on Twitter immediately noticed the Tory leader left the Zoom meeting ID number in the top left corner of the screenshot, as well as the usernames of some ministers taking part.
A Downing Street spokesman said new IDs were being generated each time the software was used and No 10. is ‘following all necessary security procedures’.
He added: ‘I am happy to say with confidence we were satisfied it was secure’.
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