Zoom updates security and privacy policies to prevent Zoombombing

Zoom will shortly turn on passwords and waiting rooms for all meetings by default in an attempt to Zoombombing (prevent unwanted participants) or the new phenomenon of people disturbing uninvited Zoom meetings and posting disturbing or even pornographic material. The original defaults would bring real complexity to the process of entering a meeting — a process Zoom had recently made as complexity-free as possible to help fuel its development. The updates take place as of April 5th.

By default, zoom passwords have already been switched on for new meetings, instant meetings, and meetings that you have entered with a meeting ID — what’s new starting on April 5th is that they will be switched on for already scheduled zoom meetings too. And once you have joined a meeting, you’re going to have to wait for the host to let you in from the new virtual room. The meeting host may opt to let people in from the waiting room individually or all at once.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, zoom use risen as people turned to the online video conferencing service to keep in touch with friends, relatives, colleagues, and even their yoga instructors. But this increased use has also made the website a tool for hacks, pranks, and abuse through Zoombombing. The problem has now become severe enough that federal prosecutors are now advising that there may be severe legal repercussions for the offenders of Zoombombing.

The new default security provided by the service can also fix specific security concerns with the application. Yesterday it surfaced that some security experts had created an automated tool capable of detecting 100 non-password-protected Zoom Meeting IDs in an hour and scrapping data about those meetings. In essence, maybe Zoom’s latest password-by-default policy will prevent such scanning tools from discovering future meeting IDs and private information.

Zoom revealed yesterday that it would freeze 90 days to release new features so it can concentrate on addressing privacy and security problems with the app.

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