FBI Report Addresses Hacking in Online Classes and Other Meetings

April 6, 2020

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Title: FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking During COVID-19 Pandemic

Date: March 30, 2020

Source: FBI

As more colleges and universities and other organizations and people move to video-teleconferencing platforms such as Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a significant uptick in reports of conference disruptions by individuals posting pornographic or hate images and using threatening language (called “Zoombombing”). In light of these security concerns, the FBI has sent out a press release on how to use the platform more securely.

The FBI advises organizations to:

-Keep meetings or classrooms private. To do this, organizations can either require that event participants use a password or create a waiting room for guests and directly control who is admitted to the meeting.

-Avoid sharing a link to a teleconference or classroom in a public social media post but instead send the link directly only to attendees.

-Change screensharing to be “Host Only.”

-Verify that users are using an updated version of meeting applications. For example, Zoom updated their platform in January 2020. The update added default passwords for meetings and disabled the ability for people to randomly scan for meetings to join.

– Check that your organizational telework policy includes guidelines for physical and information security.

Finally, if an organization is victim to “Zoombombing” or any form of cybercrime, they should report the issue to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Specific threat received during a teleconference can be reported to tips.fbi.gov.

To read the full press release, click here.

—Zubin Hill

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