Zoom Bombing & Trolls: Virtual Conference Meetings

With the Corona virus pandemic (Covid-19) having limited us to work from home and social distancing viewed as the only way of flattening the curve and reducing the virus infections. We had no alternative but to turn to the Zoom remote conferencing platform to host the Top 50 women in cybersecurity Africa conference. But later on, we would decide against releasing the maiden list and instead host a mini-conference to help us capitalize on the hype we had built earlier on. The fact being that the Top 50 women in the cybersecurity Africa conference had been postponed to a later date.

The concerns about the security of zoom have increased drastically, and advisories have been given by different organizations.

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-prevent-zoombombing-in-your-video-chats-in-4-easy-steps/

So on March Friday the 27th, we hosted the virtual mini-conference, which had a series of speakers and panel sessions. It was off to a good start, with almost 75% percent of the sessions covered, we were looking forward to a promising one.

However, without notice, the meeting would later be brought to a stand still when an intruder took over the session and started sharing pornography photos, while also displaying a message in Russian “Трахни тебя американка ”. As the host, we endured a long 5-second decision-making process before we finally managed to kick the culprit out.

The session continued undisturbed, but this was not to be its end. And you can practically picture this out. The speaker has finished the presentation, and now it is time for questions, as the host, we select participants who are willing to ask questions. One by one, the host unmutes participants to ask questions until suddenly someone, instead of asking a question, starts talking about how he recently moved to ‘South Africa’ and she has this wife who is black and she kept insisting that the wife is really really black.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52392084

Since we had the first-hand experience from the first intruder, we were able to deal with this one immediately, but what remained was the COVID 19 reality and the fact that anyone using zoom without the necessary precautions now than ever before is susceptible to zoom bombing.

So you might be wondering why intruders are turning to Zoom as a target. The key reason is the influx in the use of Zoom as a result of the corona virus, which has made us all work from home. And also shared meeting details on social platforms.

Safe Guards

How can you safeguard yourself from a similar experience during this working from the home period? Zoom has put up a blog on how to put party crusher at bay and keeping uninvited guests from messing up with your video call indicating the following:

  • Avoid sharing zoom meeting links in public forums
  • Do not use personal meetings ID’S to host public meetings; you get more insight on meeting IDs
  • Get to know the Zooms settings to help you in protecting your virtual; space. For instance, the waiting room can be an invaluable feature in controlling who comes into the meeting
  • As a host do not give up control for your screen, to help in limiting participants from screen sharing
  • Manage the participant by allowing only attendees that signed up to join the meetings, which means everyone joining your meeting should be signed in to zoom with the email they were invited with. Additionally, lock meetings that are already started to prevent the new participant from joining

So are there alternatives to the famous zoom platform? Yes there is and you can give them a try. Read more

In conclusion the zoom platform will still arguably be the video-conferencing platform of choice during this Corona virus period. However the reality is that you have to put up precautions to secure your meetings from intruders and even worse from having to endure pornographic images during your virtual happy hours.

By Collins Bunde – CyberSpeak LC.

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