Zoom bombing: How hackers crash your online meetings and ways to prevent it

KSAT News at 9 examines disturbing trend called Zoom bombing

Understand: What is Zoom bombing?
Understand: What is Zoom bombing?

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to work from home or attend classes online.

We are now using different video conference services to stay in touch with others. Some of those services include Google Hangout and Skype, but there’s been a disturbing trend circulating for people who use Zoom.

It’s called Zoom bombing and it occurs when a hacker crashes an online meeting and posts profanity, graphic videos and other content not safe for work or school.

Reuters reported that Zoom’s daily users ballooned to more than 200 million in March. That has given hackers several more chances to infiltrate classrooms and work meetings.

There has been such a spike in Zoom bombing cases, that the FBI office in Boston warned people to be aware of Zoom bombing after two schools saw their online classes get hijacked.

In the first case, someone yelled a profanity and then shouted the teacher’s home address in the middle of class.

In the second case, the hacker appeared on the video camera and displayed racially charged tattoos.

There are steps to prevent this from happening.

1. Don't use your personal meeting ID for the meeting. Instead, use an ID that is exclusive to a single meeting.

2. Enable the "waiting room" feature so you can see who is attempting to join the meeting before allowing them access.

3. Disable options such as the ability for others to join before the host. Also disable screen-sharing for non-hosts.

4. Once the meeting begins and everyone is in, lock the meeting to outsiders and assign at least two meeting co-hosts.

Zoom’s support page can help with each of these settings.

These tips are not completely fool proof, but at least hackers will have to go through several hurdles before they crash your next meeting.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.


About the Authors:

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.

Valerie Gomez is an Emmy-nominated video editor and San Antonio native. She is the lead editor for KSAT Explains and also loves Jeff Goldblum.