FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking

If you are among the many people turning to video-teleconferencing (VTC) to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to protect yourself from “Zoom-bombing” – the entrance of uninvited individuals into your VTC.  The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by offensive images and/or threatening language.

The FBI recommends the following steps to mitigate VTC hijacking threats:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms 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 guests.
  • 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 screen-sharing options:
    • In Zoom, change “screen-sharing” to “Host Only.”
  • Use the updated version of remote access/meeting applications:
    • In January 2020, Zoom updated its 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.
    • You should look for further updates to address this threat.

You also should check your company’s telework policies, and see how they address these issues.  TVC, take the opportunity to master the security tools for TVC.

If you were a victim of a teleconference hijacking, or any cyber-crime, you may report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.  If you receive a specific threat during a teleconference, please report it to us at tips.fbi.gov or call the FBI Boston Division at (857) 386-2000.

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