Here are some ways to protect your privacy while video conferencing
'Hackers are bored too,' says tech columnist for CBC's Information Morning
As many are stuck at home as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19, more people are turning to the video-conferencing platform Zoom to stay connected with work colleagues and loved ones.
But with the rise of the service's popularity comes a new challenge: Zoom bombing.
That's when hackers hijack a Zoom session and take over the screen, sometimes showing pornography or other objectionable and unsolicited material.
Nur Zincir-Heywood, tech columnist for CBC's Information Morning, said the phenomenon is not surprising, given the platform takes control of your camera and microphone.
"Hackers are bored too these days," said Zincir-Heywood, who teaches in the computer science department at Halifax's Dalhousie University.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself while using the free version of Zoom:
Make your meeting private
Zincir-Heywood urged against sharing Zoom meeting links publicly on social media sites, as that means anyone can join.
Moreover, she said the default settings of the free version of Zoom are set so that all participants can share their screens, which means anyone who joins the meeting can share their screen.
She suggested setting the meeting as private. But she said if someone does want to share the link publicly, make sure to adjust the screen sharing option to "host only."
Download the latest version of Zoom
Zincir-Heywood said there have been vulnerabilities identified in the app in the past, and people should make sure they have the latest version.
She said last year, there were problems with Zoom clients — especially those with Mac computers — leaving "open doors," which means a program was automatically set up on the computer.
That allows malware-style programs to access the computer without the owner's knowledge.
Other platform options
There are many other video-conferencing platforms people can use, such as Google Hangouts, Skype and Slack, but Zincir-Heywood warned those programs only allow between 30 to 40 people. Zoom allows up to 100 people.
She also noted that the commercial version of Zoom is much more protected than the free version.
MORE TOP STORIES:
With files from CBC's Information Morning