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‘You think Zoom bombing is funny?’ -- Hackers disrupt digital meetings with porn

Hackers could face state, federal charges

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DETROIT – Authorities issued a warning this week about people hacking video teleconferences.

More and more people, including employees, teachers and students, are turning to digital meetings on sites such as Zoom.

Michigan officials said there have been several instances of hackers disrupting conferences and classes with porn, hate images and threatening language, a practice known as “Zoom bombing.”

"You think Zoom bombing is funny? Let’s see how funny it is after you get arrested,” stated Matthew Schneider, United States Attorney for Eastern Michigan. “If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door.”

Hacking a teleconference could result in state and federal charges, including disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications.

“We were alerted to this problem by a Michigan reporter who participated in a Zoom conference that was hijacked,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Since then we have learned of other incidents around the country."

Authorities provided some tips to lessen your chances of being a victim of Zoom bombing:

  • Do not make the meetings or classroom 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 guest.
  • 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

If you were a victim of a teleconference hacking, you can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center here.


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