As videoconferencing becomes the norm, FBI warns of 'Zoom-bombing'

There have been numerous incidents of Zoom chat-rooms being hijacked by trolls.
Publish date:
Computer laptop

With work-from-home becoming the default for more employees in the U.S., the use of videoconferencing has presented an opportunity for trolls and hijackers.

It's given rise to what the FBI and others are referring to as "Zoom-bombing," a reference to the popular video chat service Zoom, which has become increasingly used by businesses, schools and friends to stay connected during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

There have been multiple reports of uninvited individuals accessing video conferences and displaying pornographic or racist images, as well as using threatening language.

And while in many instances the perpetrators are your run-of-the-mill internet trolls, groups like the Anti-Defamation League are concerned it's also being used by extremists to target groups with hate speech. 

Recent examples include a virtual Torah lesson being interrupted by people sharing antisemitic images, while a school board meeting in California was scrapped after someone shared a Nazi flag and swastika.

Another example in Massachusetts saw someone interrupt a high school class by yelling profanities as well as the teacher's home address.

The FBI is advising those hosting Zoom sessions to take precautions to prevent their events being hijacked. This advice includes:

– Not making meetings or classrooms public, using the setting in Zoom to make a meeting "private" that requires a password. Alternatively, use the "waiting room" feature that allows the host to control the admittance of guests.

– Do not share a link to a Zoom meeting on an unrestricted, publicly available social media post. Instead, provide the link direct to people privately.

– Change screensharing to "Host Only" so the host is the only person whose screen can be seen.

– Use the most up-to-date versions of video conferencing applications. Zoom, for example, has recently updated its software to make passwords a default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.

You can find more tips here courtesy of Zoom, including how to generate a randomized meeting ID when setting up meetings.

The two videos below also have more information:

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Report: Still on COVID-19 list, Thielen not expected to play Sunday

Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday.

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 9.29.12 AM

Target reveals its 'Cyber Week' online deals

The sales will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

Minneapolis police

Mayor Frey, Minneapolis police chief reveal new 'no-knock' policy

The new policy for Minneapolis Police Department was announced Wednesday.

Teddy Bridgewater

Coller: It's a what-if Sunday with Teddy Bridgewater's return

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Ambulance hospital emergency

15-month-old girl's death being investigated by police in Fargo

The child died four days after being found unresponsive.

PD Shimmers closeup

Man with Parkinson's lights up Plymouth with synchronized light show

"The best medicine I have for my disease is what I try to do with the light show," Mike Justak said.


Nate Schimelpfenig

Customer still getting charged for using the Minneapolis Super Bowl zipline

There have been numerous complaints made about the company involved.


Racism against Asian-Americans continues in Minnesota

There have been more incidents reported in the state.

Minneapolis plans to enforce sick-leave rules on firms based outside city

That's provided an employee spends at least 80 hours a year working inside city boundaries.

Sen. Scott Jensen golfing during hearing

MN Sen. Scott Jensen under fire for golfing during Zoom hearing

He's been accused of "fueling conspiracy theories" about the COVID death toll.

Minnesota's minimum wage to rise on Jan. 1

Minimum wage workers will see a pay rise in 2019.

protests, Minneapolis Fire, National Guard, George Floyd

FBI: Keep reporting suspicious behavior in Twin Cities

There have been numerous accounts of men with rifles and body armor.


Target workers won't return to downtown HQ until at least June

What's more, the offices will likely have fewer workers on site even when they do return.

Computer phone

Proposed bill would keep bosses out of your social media accounts

It would be a civil offense to demand an employee give you access to their private social media.