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FBI: Beware of hacking your video conferences in Zoom

April 1, 2020

The U.S. agency issued the warning after hackers infiltrated two Zoom sessions of a school to harass a teacher and display a poster with a swastika.

4 min read

This story originally appeared on PCMag

FBI: Beware of hacking your video conferences in ZoomFBI: Beware of hacking your video conferences in Zoom

The FBI warns the public to beware of hackers trying to infiltrate their Zoom video sessions.

“The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences interrupted by pornographic images and / or hateful and threatening language,” the agency issued in a notice Monday .

The coronavirus pandemic has helped make the video conferencing service one of the most popular applications. Unfortunately, that same popularity has also made Zoom a target for racists and pranksters, which can be especially problematic for service-dependent educators.

In the warning, the FBI's Boston field office reports two hacking incidents that involved local schools using Zoom to conduct online classes. “In late March 2020, a Massachusetts-based high school reported that, while a teacher was teaching an online class using Zoom teleconferencing software, an unidentified individual entered the classroom. This guy screamed profanity and then screamed the address of the teacher's home in the middle of the instruction, “said the FBI.

In the second incident, the hacker infiltrated the Zoom session to show swastika tattoos on his body. The kidnappings, also known as “Zoom Bombing”, are beginning to emerge as a national threat , adds the FBI.

Other countries are also witnessing haceko attempts. Earlier this month, a school in Oslo, Norway allegedly had to shut down online video lessons after a naked man infiltrated a session attended by 9-year-old students.

Kidnapping attempts may occur because users of video conferencing services conduct meetings on public channels, which are then shared over the Internet via URLs, making them accessible to anyone. In other cases, hackers can sometimes guess the correct URL or meeting ID for a public Zoom session, giving them access to the source.

So to stay safe, the FBI is encouraging Zoom users, especially in schools, to make their video conferencing sessions private . “At Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: request a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admission of guests,” the agency said. “Don't share a link to a conference call or classroom in a publicly available, unrestricted social media post. Please provide the link directly to specific people. ”

In a statement, Zoom also said, “For those hosting large public group meetings, we encourage hosts to review their settings and confirm that only the host can share their screen.” This will prevent unwanted hijackers from taking over the main video feed in a public session.

“For those who host private meetings, password protections are on by default and we recommend that users keep those protections to prevent uninvited users from joining. We encourage users to report any such incidents directly to https: / /support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/requests/new so that we can take appropriate action, “the company added.

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