Posted on April 1, 2020 at 10:12 AM
As more people continue to work from home, many are now using teleconferencing platforms to engage in conversations with friends, relatives, and colleagues. But hackers are taking advantage to compromise some of these platforms. One of the most commonly targeted platforms is the Zoom application, as reported by the FBI on Monday.
The agency reported that some hackers infiltrated the online classrooms of some Massachusetts schools and interrupted their classes with offensive images and chants of hate speech. This act, known as “ZoomBombing”, has affected the video teleconferencing service. The FBI has warned users of video call platforms that other platforms may have been compromised as well.
There has been increased traffic on video conferencing platforms as individuals, governments, schools, and companies increasingly turn to these apps to keep classrooms and businesses functioning.
But this alternative to personal communication has its vulnerabilities, as cybercriminals are taking the opportunity to launch their attacks on meetings and conferences.
Recently, an online class was disrupted when the hacker who earlier breached the Zoom platform revealed personal information about the tutor. In another development, the FBI reported that an unwanted participant with swastika tattoos joined a school’s meeting via the Zoom portal.
These are not the only incidents of compromise on the Zoom platform. The FBI says there have been numerous reports and complaints of disruption on the video conferencing portal. “The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” the agency reiterated.
It further cautioned users of the video conferencing platforms to be very careful as they turn to online meetings and lessons in this period. Users should be diligent in their cybersecurity efforts, the FBI said.
Highly sensitive information could be compromised
It’s not only children and private businesses their meetings could be gate-crashed. Security and privacy in video conferencing may also be a huge issue of national security, as world leaders meet through the Zoom platform.
The platform has been shared and used by top government heads, with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson sharing screenshots of a recent teleconference meeting held via Zoom.
This has raised concerns that the vulnerability of the video conferencing platform could lead to the leak of highly-sensitive information.
This warning by the FBI is coming amidst reports that Zoom does not secure user information and communications as much as it has made users believe. The platform has vehemently stated that it uses an end-to-end encryption-based technology to secure user conversation on the platform.
However, with the recent security breach and compromise, it seems the company is not addressing the privacy situation as it should be. It has also been accused of leaking people’s photos and email addresses to strangers. Even so, a lawsuit has been filed against Zoom for allegedly sharing user data with Facebook without the users’ consent.
Zoom has gained substantially at its share price for the past few weeks. However, the news of the lawsuit against the company may have affected the shares as it has seen a dip in price since yesterday.
FBI recommends security measures
In the wake of the security challenge of using the platform, the FBI has issued some advice on how to stay secured and protected.
The agency said if users want to prevent unwanted participants from joining the meeting or conference, they shouldn’t make classrooms or meetings public.
To remain more secure, the FBI has advised users to utilize the waiting room feature or ask participants for passwords to control and manage access to meetings and conferences.
The agency also warned users not to share links on public posts, but send it directly to the intended participants. It will prevent users from randomly scanning for meetings or conferences they will participate in.
These measures may not keep unwanted participants out completely. But it will drastically reduce the loopholes hackers can exploit.