Industry News

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 platform.

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 incident.

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 sessions.

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.

Here at Bitdefender we focus on keeping your devices protected from malicious activity and threats of all kinds. Now more than ever, you need autonomy and safety as you reach the world via your internet-enabled devices. That’s why we have extended the trial for our best security suite, ensuring that you can take care of your family’s devices for up to 90 days. If you’re already set up, why not make an unexpected gift to your loved ones who might not be aware of emerging cyber threats?

About the author

Silviu STAHIE

Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between. He's passionate about security and the way it shapes the world, in all aspects of life. He's also a space geek, enjoying all the exciting new things the Universe has to offer.