Zoom comes under malware attack

Hackers have intruded into the virtual meeting platform


MUMBAI: Hackers have been on the prowl, targeting popular video conferencing application Zoom as more and more people are resorting to virtual meetings in the wake of COIVD-19 pandemic. Such malware attacks, commonly called Zoom Bombing, have been reported from different parts of the world.

In a Zoom Bombing, hackers typically intrude a video conference and post hate or pornographic images.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, companies world over adopted the work-from-home system as part of social distancing, necessitating the use of online communication tools like Zoom, for meetings and conferences. Zoom, a cloud-based communication platform, has increasingly been used by organisations for virtual meetings, video conferencing, and webinars. Zoom has seen increased downloads. In March alone, the app was downloaded around 40 million times across the world, even surpassing popular apps like TikTok and Facebook.

The changed scenario, however, has given rise to wily hackers who are on the prowl within the dark underbelly of the online world. Cyber security experts have found that such cyber criminals are targeting communication platforms, thereby putting those who communicate via the likes of Zoom at risk. Phishing and malware attacks have also increased.

The Zoom Bombing has been attracting news headlines with reports of virtual conferences being interrupted by hate-spouting oddballs who disrupt the meetings by posting pornographic or hateful images.  In the US, a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous was disrupted by a hacker who spouted anti-Semitic and misogynistic words. There have also been other instances where high school online classes were interrupted by such intruders.

On Thursday morning, the launch of BARC-Nielsen week 12 report on ‘Crisis Consumption: An insight into TV, digital and audience’ via Zoom was disrupted due to what seemed like a malware attack. The meeting was rescheduled after it was disrupted apparently by a malware within half-an-hour of the start. 

Hackers have been found to be taking advantage of the increased use of Zoom by registering fake Zoom domains. According to a report by cyber security website Check Point, cyber criminals have created around 1,700 fake Zoom domains after the COVID-19 virus broke out.

Despite the popularity, there is of late no dearth of trouble for Zoom. In the US, the virtual communication platform, which has seen a spurt in usage after the COVID-10 pandemic, has been mired in data privacy issues. On Wednesday, shares of Zoom tumbled six per cent for the third consecutive day. In fact, it has been a downward journey for its stock since 27 March.

So how do you prevent intruders from disrupting Zoom meetings?

According to Business Insider, you can go to “account management > account setting,” find the “waiting room” button and turn it on. “That way, the host can allow in participants who are invited and weed out uninvited guests who will sit in the queue,” it says.

A Zoom spokesperson was quoted by Forbes as saying this. “For those hosting private meetings, password protections are on by default and we recommend that users keep those protections on to prevent uninvited users from joining. We also encourage users to report any incidents of this kind directly so we can take appropriate action.”

Here are some tips for organisations before they log on to a Zoom meeting room:

Ø  Send meeting invitation on official email ID and to those individuals who are required

Ø  Ensure that only authenticated users can join meetings and enable 'require password' feature

Ø  Use the 'waiting room feature' to avoid unwanted attendees

Ø  The host can enable "co-host" for the purpose of moderation

Ø  Do not download or install any unauthorised software from malicious site. Install only legitimate and licensed software.

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