Safe video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic
A message from the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey for safe video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic
BOSTON — In response to reports of privacy and security issues with the video conferencing platform Zoom, Attorney General Maura Healey today issued an advisory with recommendations for members of the public to practice safe video conferencing.
“As more people turn to video conferencing to stay connected during this public health emergency, we should all take steps to protect our privacy and security,” said AG Healey. “We encourage the public to stay safe while chatting with friends, family, classmates and colleagues over video platforms like Zoom.”
The AG’s Office is recommending the public follow these tips to protect themselves from a new form of harassment known as “Zoombombing” by which intruders hijack video calls and post hate speech and offensive images:
Don’t make meetings public. Users that want to host a Zoom meeting should make the meeting private by requiring a meeting password or using the platform’s waiting room feature to control who is and isn’t allowed to enter the meeting. Information on how to do this can be found on Zoom’s website.
Don’t share a link to a conference publicly. Posting a link to a meeting on an unrestricted, publicly available website or on social media may open the door for unwanted guests to join the meeting. Provide the link directly to the guests you want to invite and ask them not to share it with others you don’t want invited.
Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”
Make sure you’re using the most up-to-date software. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software to add passwords requirements for meetings and disabled a feature that allowed users to randomly scan for meetings to join. To ensure you don’t fall victim to unwanted guests, update your software to the most recent version. Only download Zoom’s software from its official website or, for mobile devices, the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Check to make sure the highest security settings are applied to the video conference platform you’re using. If you’re using Zoom or a similar platform while working remotely, consult your employer’s IT department to ensure that your organization allows for use of Zoom for business purposes and to address additional requirements for physical and information security.
Educators should check with their school administration about how to use Zoom for online lessons. Zoom has offered more information for educators here.
Those who experience video or teleconference hijacking or any cyber-crime can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Visit the AG’s Office COVID-19 resources page for information about how the office can assist the public during this emergency.