Self isolation is the new norm, and in person meetings are now too dangerous to participate in for fears of becoming infected with the infamous COVID-19. So what is the next best thing to “meeting” without actually physically meeting? Virtual meetings, usually through video teleconferencing platforms such as “Zoom”.
Zoom today is being used in almost all situations, from court hearings, to school teachings, it is everywhere. As of today, Zoom’s stock is $150.26 USD… this time last year stocks were roughly $62.00 a share. The value of zoom has more than doubled… it seems everyone is on Zoom.
Given that Zoom is becoming an integral part of our lives, we need to be mindful of whether Zoom is all rainbows and butterflies, or whether it has a dark side.
Currently, Zoom is being sued for allegedly handing over a zoom users data to Facebook, without their permission. The lawsuit was filed in California in late March 2020, and the lawsuit alleges the following: “Upon installing or upon each opening of the Zoom App, Zoom collects the personal information of its users and discloses, without adequate notice or authorization, this personal information to third parties, including Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”), invading the privacy of millions of users.”
So, if you have used Zoom at some point during this pandemic, it is likely that your information has been transmitted as well… you really cannot be certain if it has, or has not.
Are these video chat platforms dangerous? Can someone record the “zoomed” conversation? All very good questions, and the answer to both is yes. For paid subscribers, Zoom’s cloud recording feature is an option. If the feature is enabled on the account, a host can record the meeting along with its text transcription, and a text file of any active chats in that meeting. You may or may not realize that you are being recorded as a participant on the video chat. The recorded information can be saves to a cloud where it can later be accessed by others, whether they were originally part of the meeting or not. Administrators can limit the recording’s accessibility to only certain preapproved IP addresses, even if the recording has already been shared.
Have you heard of Zoom Bombing? It’s actually a thing…
Public school classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and other virtual gatherings have been interrupted by hackers or trolls who have done some pretty obscene things. Those successful in disrupting sessions have posted video footage of those incidents to sharing platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.
FBI Warns the public about Zoom…
The FBI as of March 30, 2020 released a warning informing the public that there have been several reports of video teleconferencing hacking (“zoom-bombing”) that has been taking place world wide. The FBI report states that the FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.
According to Forbes, Zoom recently announced a 90-day freeze on new operations to focus on fixing the problems at hand.
Different ways that Zoom hosts are able to better secure a Zoom chat:
- Require a password for those that are signing into the meeting. NO PASSWORD – NO ENTRY. In the alternative, the admin can create a waiting room feature and control who comes into the meeting and who cannot.
- The admin should restrict the screen-sharing feature to “Host Only” rather than let any participant the ability to share their screen.
- Email the participation link to those directly, do not publicly post the link on a publicly available platform where anybody is able to click and join.
- Require those that join the meeting to use the 2020 most updated version of zoom, that includes more security features.
Be aware that there are third party softwares that can be used to record a Zoom conversation, without the Host/Admin having no control or knowledge.
Bottom Line: Stay safe out there folks, and be mindful of this now heavily virtual world we are living in.