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Video conferencing has become an essential way to do business and socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowans, however, should beware of the possibility “Zoom-bombing” and other security breaches while using the technology.

The FBI and other authorities have received multiple reports of video conferences being disrupted by pornographic and hate images and threatening language.

“Our office has communicated with Zoom, and we’re monitoring the situation,” Attorney General Tom Miller said. “We would like to know more how software companies are dealing with security and privacy questions surrounding education, telehealth and other applications.”

Miller’s office offers these 10 tips to protect your video conferences:

  1.  Read the app’s recommendations on privacy settings and other tips.  For example, here is information on security practices from ZoomMicrosoft Teams and Google Meet.
  2.  Shop around. Find the software that fits the security your communications require. Check with your IT department or other authority to ensure the software is secure enough to discuss confidential information.
  3.  Ensure users are using the updated version of the software. Zoom has updated its security measures, for example.
  4.  Require a meeting password. Make it strong and don’t reuse it.
  5.  Do not send meeting IDs, passwords, or meeting links in public forums like social media. Share such information by secure means.
  6.  Do not click on meeting links from unknown senders. Confirm that a meeting invitation is from a trusted sender.
  7.  Use Zoom’s “waiting room” feature or similar security function to prescreen the guests before the meeting starts.
  8.  If you’re the host, adjust the settings so only you can share the screen. That prevents an uninvited attendee from breaking in and disrupting the meeting.
  9.  Beware of sharing screenshots of video chats publicly. These images may contain sensitive meeting details or  personal contact information that you don’t notice when capturing them.
  10.  Assume you are being recorded. Ask the host if you’re unsure.

Sources: FBI, Washington, D.C., Attorney General, USA Today.

To seek help

If you are a victim of a cyber crime, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

To file a complaint with our office, go to:

Web: www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov

Phone: 515-281-5926 (toll-free number outside of the Des Moines area: 888-777-4590)

Email: [email protected]

Author: Press Release