UNITED STATES—A new form of “hijacking,” known as “Zoombombing” is targeting Zoom video calls, in which the hijacked video calls post hate speech, racial slurs, and offensive images such as pornography, as reported by the FBI on April 3.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many are using video calling platforms, including Zoom to stay in touch with loved ones without risking their health, as well as students taking their classes online. Zoom reported 200 million people used the app on a daily basis in March 2020, up from just 10 million in December.
One user was defending his dissertation with over 30 people viewing, when male genitalia appeared on the screen. Other calls affected include Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, Sunday school classes, online classes at the University of Southern California and city meetings. In an attempt to address the issue, Zoom published a guide last month on how users can protect meetings. It also changed settings for accounts used by schools and universities to make their meetings more private by default.
Zoom’s software revealed that it allows hackers to spy through a computer’s webcam or microphone. Zoom says it released fixes for these issues on April 1. Zoom was found to be sharing data with Facebook, including data from people who are not Facebook users.
The company indicated it was a mistake and that it stopped sharing that data in March, but it is now facing a class action lawsuit. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said in a blog post Wednesday, April 8 that the company is freezing work on new features to focus on fixing its privacy and security problems.
“We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it,” said Yuan.