Doing an online quiz this weekend? Beware of 'Zoom Bombing'

Doing an online quiz this weekend? Beware of 'Zoom Bombing'

Published at 2:45pm 15th May 2020.

3 minute read

Wiltshire Police is putting out advice to protect people taking part in virtual meet-ups, after three incidents in the county this week.

Officers from the county's Digital Investigations Unit say they're concerned that our Zoom calls could be hijacked by hackers.

From there, uninvited guests have been posting inappropriate language, and even display offensive or indecent images.

That can be really distressing and upsetting for those on the videos calls.

Video Call Zoom Bombing
We're being asked to take precautions if we start video calls with friends on the Zoom app


Wiltshire Police have a few tips to follow to help protect ourselves, such as:

  • Make the meeting private by either setting up a password or using a 'waiting room' feature which allows the host to control entry, these should both be set as a default on the App
  • Consider limiting audio or video requirements if necessary, you can prevent attendees unmuting themselves after entry if required in the settings
  • Limit screen sharing permissions to either just the host or trusted attendees
  • If publicising the event on social media, be extra vigilant with your settings
  • Think about recording your Zoom meeting, as that could help with an investigation in the event of criminal activity - but do ensure the participants are aware if any recording is being created

A downloadable guide is also available with additional help for those concerned about their video calls being compromised.

Gemma Vinton, Detective Inspector for the Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit, said: 

"Incidents of this nature have been reported globally as well as in the UK recently, however we have now unfortunately had three reports within Wiltshire in the last week. These 'zoom-bombings' have involved extremely unpleasant indecent child-abuse video footage being shown via screen sharing by a meeting participant who was not known to the organisers of the video conferences. 
"The meetings were publicised on social media with limited security settings so we're urging individuals and businesses alike to remain vigilant and ensure settings are fixed correctly to prevent future occurrences."

Child Sex Offences Online Abuse
Hackers are taking advantage of our virtual catch-ups to display offensive images

Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, said:

"This is an extremely malicious online crime which can have lasting effects on the victims and particularly the host of the meeting feeling responsible. It's difficult to understand the motives: it could be pranksters simply aiming to prove that they 'can' infiltrate a conference and cause a stir and a bit of embarrassment; or it could stem from a much darker, more sinister place. 
"The important thing to remember is it's possible to prevent uninvited guests to your video calls, as it's vital we all continue to stay in touch."

There's more advice from Wiltshire Police on their website.

You can also reports incidents of cyber-crime to police on 101 or you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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