Are You Being Safe Online?
In the modern age, people are always being reminded of different ways to be safe while traversing the internet. A person never knows what they will run into online, or what private information they may be risking. While the majority of the most popular websites are safe and secure, every once in awhile someone manages to hack their way through the safety features.
As more and more people are forced into working or going to school from home, more people are on the internet for longer periods. With so much more free time on their hands and so many more targets, hackers are hard at work trying to find ways to mess with people. One form of trolling that is gaining popularity is referred to as zoombombing and it is greatly disrupting ongoing efforts to educate people during this pandemic.
What Is Zoombombing?
Zoombombing is the act of hacking into a private meeting and then disrupting said meeting with:
- Foul language
- Racist remarks
- Pornographic imagery
- Threatening violence
This is a very big problem for anyone trying to host private virtual meetings for work or school. The act gets its name because it largely happened on the video conferencing app Zoom.
The app’s popularity and usage skyrocketed in recent months as more and more people were placed on lock-down. The app provided a free way for people to conduct meetings for work and school.
There have been several incidents where a class is being held through the app and then someone gets in who shouldn’t have. They begin to spout inappropriate comments, share pornographic images, or even begin to expose their genitals for the entire class to see. Understandably, many users are very upset over this and several of the incidents have been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Both the FBI and Zoom have issued statements on the matter and are looking into things. Zoom offered some tips on how to keep their video calls secure.
How to Stay Safe Online
When it comes to something getting hacked, oftentimes it is because someone got a bit careless. One of the biggest problems is that people are either unaware of certain security features available on the app, or are simply forgetting to use them.
Many people assume they won’t get hacked simply because they’ve never been hacked before. This leads to them not taking the proper steps to secure something, which in turn makes it easier for someone else to hack into it.
Some of the basic features that zoom recommends its users take advantage of include:
- Requiring a password to join a meeting. This makes it that much harder for someone to get into the meeting, especially if the password is a good one, not something simple like password or 1234.
- Using a waiting room to screen who is trying to join the meeting. This way, anytime someone tries to join the meeting, they are placed in a separate room where they can’t interact with anyone until they are granted permission.
- Set the meeting to private. This makes it so that only people who know about the meeting or know the host can find it online.
- Don’t share the link to the meeting on any public forums or social media accounts. Even if an account is set to private, hackers can still stumble across it and begin attempting to gain access to the meeting.
- Limit screen sharing to just the host. Doing this prevents anyone else from sharing images on their screen with others unless granted permission.
These are just some basic precautions that people can take when setting up online meetings to ensure that only the people they want in can gain access.
Keep the Meeting Secure
These are unprecedented times for a whole lot of people. While some people have been working and going to school online for years, not everyone has experienced it before. It is only natural that some people aren’t aware of all of the different safety features that are available to help keep their video calls private.
Hopefully, with more awareness of the problems, people will be able to take the proper precautions to keep their meetings private and prevent hackers from gaining access. This way, no one, especially minors, has to be exposed to any hate speech or sexually explicit material.
What are your thoughts on video conferences? Are they great alternatives to being together in person, or do you miss seeing everyone face to face? Are you taking the proper steps to keep your meetings secure? Tell us about your online experiences in the comments down below.
- On April 13, 2020