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Boston FBI: Mass. Schools, Others Targeted By Hate Speech On Zoom Calls

Close-up of hand of a man holding a Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone with app for teleworking and conference call company Zoom, Walnut Creek, California, March 11, 2020. Amid an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, many companies have advised employees to work remotely, leading to strong financial performance from telework companies. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Close-up of hand of a man holding a Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone with app for teleworking and conference call company Zoom, Walnut Creek, California, March 11, 2020. Amid an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, many companies have advised employees to work remotely, leading to strong financial performance from telework companies. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Connecting over video calls has been a boon for everyone staying at home these days. But the Boston office of the FBI warns that one of the most popular applications, Zoom, is vulnerable to hacking.

The agency said on Monday that online classrooms for some Massachusetts schools have been interrupted by strangers shouting hate speech and displaying offensive images, also known as "ZoomBombing."

The Boston Globe reports one incident involved a high school teacher who was interrupted by someone who "yelled a profanity and then shouted the teacher's home address."

The FBI did not specify which schools were attacked.

This isn't confined to the commonwealth. Trolls dropped in on the WFH Happy Hour, hosted by The Verge reporter Casey Newton and investor Hunter Walk, TechCrunch reports. And an associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University told NBC News her Zoom feed of her and her husband reading books to children stuck at home was infiltrated by a male voice saying the n-word multiple times.

Zoom's tools allow for hosts to stop participants from sharing their screens, and if you are going to share the Zoom link publicly, be sure to change screensharing to "Host Only."

TechCrunch, via entrepreneur Alex Miller, also recommends the following steps to prevent unwanted visitors in Zoom calls:

  • Disable “Join Before Host” so people can’t cause trouble before you arrive.
  • Enabling “Co-Host” so you can assign others to help moderate.
  • Disable “File Transfer” so there’s no digital virus sharing.
  • Disable “Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin” so booted attendees can’t slip back in.

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