As we cope with the efforts to combat the infectiousness of COVID-19, we have turned increasingly to electronic means of communicating. SMS text messages, Facebook messaging, tweeting, livestreaming and video conferencing have all played a role in helping people stay connected when they need to stay at home.

These technologies have been key to keeping people informed to a degree that was impossible 100 years ago when the flu epidemic ravaged the world. But as helpful as these communications tools are, they have their own risks.

One tool that we have heard a lot about recently is Zoom, which describes itself as “the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.” As is so often true, leadership brings with it a risk of being targeted by bad actors.

Indeed, schools, churches, businesses and other organizations seem to be using it extensively for online classes, meetings and other gatherings.

But as helpful as it has been, the FBI warns that there are security risks that users should be aware of. This is breaking news, coming to the surface in the last week.

When you search for “Zoom Hacked” on Google, you get results like these:

Zoom meetings keep getting hacked. Here’s how to prevent ‘Zoom bombing’ on your video chats
Fortune

Zoom bombing: Video calls hacked with racial slurs and pornography
CBS News

‘War Dialing’ Tool Exposes Zoom’s Password Problems
Krebs on Security

Man exposes himself after hacking into Orange County school’s Zoom class meeting
WESH Orlando

Use Zoom? These 5 safety tips can keep the ‘Zoombombing’ hackers away
USA Today

Zoom call with Utah elementary students hacked with pornography
KUTV

Is Your Privacy at Risk? Video Calling App Explained After Hacking Vulnerabilities Exposed
Newsweek

Zoom CEO responds after calls hacked with slurs and porn
MSN.com

Online courses are disrupted by hackers as Columbia transitions to Zoom video conferencing platform
Columbia Daily Spectator

‘Zoombombing:’ Zoom video meetings get hacked amid coronavirus outbreak
Chicago Tribune

Initially, it appeared that the hackers were just intent ot on causing confusion and emotional distress, but at least one exploit has gone farther. Using the Zoom security flaw, attackers are able to penetrate Windows and steal the Windows login password.

This NPR report is typical of the warnings being given by news organizations: A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side — And An FBI Warning.

So the message we all should hear is that while keeping safe from the Coronavirus, keep safe from computer viruses and other malware, too.


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