US Warns People that Zoom-bombing Is a Crime

Zoom-bombing, the act of highjacking Zoom video
conferences by sharing pornographic and hate images among other things, might
seem like an annoying practice, but law enforcement is warning people that it’s
actually a crime and perpetrators might end up in prison.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic sent people at home, the
use of teleconferencing software such as Zoom has exploded. The Zoom team is
now trying to deal with the security problems that seem to keep cropping up,
and they have even suspended
the addition of new features for 90 days just to focus on securing their

Just a few days ago, the FBI warned
companies and the general public about a new practice called Zoom-bombing.
People invade ongoing videoconferences and share disturbing images or use foul
language. A couple of Massachusetts-based schools reported this type of

Now, the Department of Justice, through the U.S.
Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, warns people who might
attempt to interfere with the use of video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms,
such as Zoom, that it’s a crime.

“Michigan’s chief federal, state, and local law
enforcement officials are joining together to warn anyone who hacks into a
teleconference can be charged with state or federal crimes,” states
the advisory from the Department of Justice.

“Charges may include – to name just a few – disrupting a public
meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes,
fraud, or transmitting threatening communications.  All of these charges are punishable by fines
and imprisonment.”

The Zoom team already implemented a number of measures to
curb this problem, including disabling the user’s option to scan to public
meetings. Using a password for meetings is also now the default setting for new

It’s also a good idea to lock meetings after they start,
to restrict the use of screensharing to host-only, and to enable the Waiting
Room function that allows the host to see who’s trying to join. Lastly, users
should never publicly share links for the meetings or login credentials.

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