How you can protect yourself and your co-workers from ‘Zoombombing’

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — In the past month, California has seen an almost 47% increase in web traffic, according to Fastly, a cloud computing company. And all that extra time online does raise some concerns.

“There are still a lot of people that use open Wi-Fis and then their neighbors are using their Wi-Fi,” said Don Vilfer, the cybersecurity expert and president of Digital Evidence Ventures in Roseville.

Vilfer said businesses have been securing their online networks for years. But with so many people working from home now, it’s important for people to make sure their personal Wi-Fi is protected.

“Change your router password because your password is only as strong as what you have on the router,” Vilfer explained. “And a lot of routers come with a default password that you could just Google it on the internet and see that it’s password123 or whatever it may be, a default password for the router. But change it so that a hacker can’t get into your router and make the password whatever they want.”

The video conferencing service Zoom has seen a big spike in usage recently.

With the increased traffic has come incidents of hacking, now called “Zoombombing,” during which uninvited users crash a meeting, sometimes with disturbing content.

“You know, hacking their way in, getting credentials or guessing credentials,” Vilfer said. “Getting into a Zoom meeting and then either eavesdropping or flashing up porn during the meeting.”

Google is no longer allowing employees to use Zoom on company computers, citing security concerns.

The company is responding. 

“We’ve certainly seen times where it’s been more than mischief, and I just think it’s unacceptable behavior,” said Zoom’s Chief Marketing Officer Janine Pelosi. “And so that’s why it’s our responsibility to make sure that our product can be set up so that those things cannot happen. And that’s why we made the choice to put those passwords and waiting rooms on by default.”

Zoom users are advised to set up a one-time, unique ID, require a meeting password and create a virtual waiting room where attendees can be vetted before going live.

There is also a setting that allows only the host to share a screen.

“So, it’s just advisable to take a browse through the security features that Zoom offers,” Vilfer said.

Something positive that has been learned during a time of increased usage, Vilfer says, is that the internet is holding up pretty well.

“For a while the concern was the stress on the network,” he said. “But the drop in speed for everybody has only gone down minimally, you know, like 10% or something.”

And there are things you can do to minimize the glitches.

“You’re probably helping if you’re turning off your other devices from the Wi-Fi,” Vilfer explained. “It also helps if you have a fairly modern router. The newer routers within the last year or two are better at managing that pipeline for multiple devices and making sure everybody gets the data through.”

Vilfer also said to be on guard against hackers who might want to access your webcam. It is never a bad idea to keep that covered up when you’re not using it or simply keep your laptop closed.

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