On an average day, 200 million people use the video conferencing service Zoom. Three months ago, that number was 10 million – a then-record for the service. It’s clear that video chatting and conferencing services are some of the few companies profiting from the pandemic via exponential growth in users.
But with increased popularity comes increased harassment. Trolls have hijacked many notable video conferences and sent the media into a tizzy. A national dialog has opened regarding the moderation and security of overpopulated platforms, at the center of which is Zoom.
However, most – if not all – of Zoom’s hijacking cases, which have consisted of obscene, conference-interrupting messages, images, and videos, could have been prevented with slightly more knowledge on the part of the users and slightly more vigilance on the part of the company.
Porn, Profanity And Racial Slurs
The term “ Zoom bombing” was coined a few weeks ago after someone spammed the daily video conference WFH Happy Hour with extremely graphic sexual imagery. This occurred to the horror of the conference’s dozens of participants.
Since then, Zoom bombs have been dropped on New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller in the form of racial slurs; guests at a virtual YWCA event in the form of vulgar comments; and Utah elementary school students in the form of pornography.
Thousands of such incidents have put Zoom’s privacy and cybersecurity measures into question. Thankfully, fixes have been proposed and enabled.
What The Company Can Do
Zoom designers have already made sweeping changes to the platform. From April 5, Zoom has been making virtual waiting rooms a default setting. This change ensures that hosts have control from the get-go over who can participate in their conferences.
Another change is that users who wish to enter a call must provide a password via Meeting ID. Yet, some cybersecurity experts maintain that these basic platform changes are not enough and that Zoom users are susceptible to more serious privacy breaches. Experts have found that Zoom does not have end-to-end encryption and sends user information to Facebook without their consent.
One expert identified a webcam-hacking risk that only affects Mac users. Many of these potential breaches can be countered by individual privacy measures: technicians at DSC Houston recommend safeguarding your cloud storage, for example, in order to protect yourself, your property and your assets.
What Users Can Do
Although webcam and sensitive data breaches are dangerous hacks that require company mitigation, most Zoom bombs could have been thwarted had users simply changed their privacy settings.
Users who enabled waiting rooms, host-control, and password-protection before the bombing campaign would not have been hit. The FBI suggests additional measures to arm oneself against trolls, such as not sharing a link to an unrestricted teleconference on social media and changing screen sharing settings to “host-only.”
Zoom has suddenly become the biggest video and teleconferencing platform in the country. The company could not have foreseen this popularity surge, which is why it wasn’t protected against mass trolling. Thankfully, both Zoom and its users have taken precautions against the pernicious trend that they call Zoom bombing.