During the COVID-19 pandemic, videoconferencing platforms have experienced massive growth in their user base. From December 2019 to April 2020, Zoom has increased its daily users from 10 to 300 million.
Many of these newly acquired users used remote meeting platforms for the first time. Businesses rushed to introduce new tools and applications for remote events, leaving more room for error. Thus, cybersecurity and privacy incidents rose by 23% after shifting to remote work, and a new term was born: Zoombombing.
We’re here to give you the lowdown on what Zoombombing is, and how it can negatively impact your company’s reputation. To sweeten the deal, we’ll also reveal how an industry-leading multilingual meetings solution Interactio has held more than 42,000 attack-free events.
What is Zoombombing?
Zoombombing is a process of an unwanted person joining your virtual meeting with the intent to disrupt it. While the term originated from the disrupted Zoom meeting, many videoconferencing platforms, from Zoom to Teams to Webex, are currently vulnerable.
Zoombombing can affect any organization — an educational institution, business, and even government agencies.
Is Zoombombing Illegal?
During the pandemic, the FBI quickly recognized zoombombing as an illegal action. One of the first reported cases happened during a remote class — an unidentified person dialed into the meeting, unmuted the microphone, and “shouted the teacher’s home address in the middle of an instruction.”
Zoombombing is now considered a cyber-crime; any victim of a teleconference hijacking can report it to the authorities.
Zoombombing as a Threat to Your Company
It is crucial to understand the scope of damage zoombombing can inflict on your company.
First, it can seriously harm your brand image. Zoombombers often use hate speech and include highly offensive messages. While most people will realize that the victimized company does not condone the speech in question, it nonetheless ties your company’s name to bigotry and intolerance, not to mention a lack of cyber security.
Zoombombers can also affect employee and customer morale; they often get into the meetings to share personal information, or threaten the safety of the attendees.
Such incidents quickly spread; even if they happen in a virtual space, the damage is very real. These attacks might make your company employees become significantly less productive, or even consider switching jobs.
How to Avoid Zoombombing?
Here’s a set of tips that will help you avoid zoombombing:
- Screensharing is a major source of damage during a zoombombing attack. Ensure that screen sharing is only available to hosts, co-hosts, and specifically authorized attendees.
- Make all meetings private and do not share links publicly. Attackers can easily hijack public meetings. If you distribute the link to your meeting on social media, there is a high chance that you will be zoombombed — so just don’t do it. Avoid reusing the same meeting IDs; hijackers can easily guess and share them around.
- It is better to use a waiting room than a password for a meeting. Yes, enabling a password means that the meeting is now private. But if you are organizing a conference, people can spread passwords among each other. The waiting room will give you the ultimate control over who can access your event.
- Encourage (or even require) participants to use their real names. This helps you identify the participants that register for the event.
- Disable remote control. Remote control features can cause many issues for a presenter if an outsider takes over their presentation.
A Better Way — How Interactio Prevents Zoombombing
Interactio encourages meeting organizers to adopt a different mindset, and incorporate features such as:
- Moderator-only functions. Moderators can lock meetings, remove unwanted guests, and constantly monitor the flow of an event.
- Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) integration. Event organizers can enable their company’s single sign-on (SSO) to secure the login to a meeting.
- Individual invitations. You can invite a participant individually and avoid leaked meeting links or unauthorized guests.
Zoombombing proves that many crimes are becoming virtual, and it’s crucial to implement appropriate online security measures. A single hijacker can do significant damage to your brand image and acquire sensitive information.
So remember: if you are not planning to use a specific function – disable it. Building a secure event ecosystem is a shared responsibility of all – event organizers, service providers, and participants.