What Is Zoombombing? And How to Prevent It

Nathan |

A Short Story On Zoom..

If we’d known that a global pandemic was on the horizon that would result in the majority of businesses and schools switching to remote work and learning for nearly all of 2020, we’d have bought shares in Zoom years ago!

 

One of the most user friendly video conferencing platforms out there, Zoom has been a key piece of software for businesses for years – but it’s certainly reached its peak this year. How often have you seen screenshots of smiling faces and virtual backgrounds on LinkedIn in the past six months? 

 

It’s a great service on its own, but it also integrates seamlessly with other platforms, such as Microsoft Teams and a variety of other systems and platforms.

That being said, it’s not without its flaws. In this blog, we’ll address one of the key concerns we’ve found with the platform that you should be aware of – and what you can do to minimise the risk in your company.

Zoombombing. It’s Not Made-Up.

Picture this. You’re in the middle of an Zoom call – whether it’s the sale of the year, a performance review or simply a run-of-the-mill meeting with your team – when suddenly, someone in the call starts spewing profanities.

No, it’s not Steven from accounting spilling his coffee on his trackies just after he washed them for the first time in a week. You’re actually experiencing a Zoombombing.

This new situation is when an uninvited person joins a Zoom meeting. Typically, it’s done in an attempt to gain a few cheap laughs at the expense of participants. But it can also turn more threatening, with Zoombombers often hurling racial slurs and profanity, or sharing pornography or other offensive imagery. In some cases, educators in the US have reported their home addresses being shared by Zoombombers – frightening both them and their students in the call.

The attacks have drawn the attention of the FBI, with Zoombombing now being considered illegal in the US. But it’s not a problem exclusive to Americans – it’s happening across the world, including Australia.

How Does Zoombombing Happen?

The issue of Zoombombing stems from a combination of inexperienced users and the way the video conferencing app was configured. Zoom is geared more towards user-friendliness than privacy, making it simple for even the most computer-illiterate person to set up.

Unfortunately, this has led to people sharing Zoom meeting links carelessly, which can result in the meeting becoming open to public access – which means anyone can find the link and join your in-progress call. Just take UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as an example, when he tweeted a screenshot of a Zoom Cabinet meeting that showed the meeting ID and everyone’s screen name. 

Public Zoom meeting links have even reportedly shown up in the results when people search for ‘zoom.us’ on Google. Anyone who finds such a link can join that meeting. The Zoombombers don’t even have to try, it’s that simple.

How to Protect Yourself from Zoombombing

Zoom has issued a statement encouraging users to report any incidents directly to Zoom. They also suggested that people hosting large, public meetings confirm that they are the only ones who can share their screen and use features like mute controls. 

For those hosting private meetings, password protections are on by default, which can help minimise the risk of Zoombombers – provided the password isn’t being shared as carelessly as the meeting link.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is log into your account through Zoom’s website and adjust your Settings manually. This will allow you to go through each feature and enable or disable the options depending on your requirements. You’ll also be able to review and (if required) enhance your security.

Audit Your Security with the IT Department

Still unsure whether you’re at risk of Zoombombing – or any other security breaches? Reach out to the team at the IT Department. We’d be happy to audit your business’ current security practices and ensure you’re proactively protecting yours and your customers’ information.