Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Governance & Risk Management

Prosecutors: 'Zoom-Bombing' Could Lead to Charges

Video Conferencing Hacking Violates U.S. Laws, Prosecutors Say
Prosecutors: 'Zoom-Bombing' Could Lead to Charges

Those who hack video conferences, such as via Zoom bombing, are violating federal and state laws and could face prosecution, U.S. law enforcement officials say.

See Also: How to Build Your Cyber Recovery Playbook

In a statement released Friday, the U.S. attorneys' offices for the Eastern and Western districts of Michigan warned that those who hack or hijack video conferences could face charges that include disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud or transmitting threatening communications.

"If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door," says Matthew Schneider. U.S. attorney for Eastern Michigan

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced workers around the U.S. into working from home, the use of video conferencing platforms has skyrocketed (see: COVID-19 Response: How to Secure a 100% Remote Workforce).

Vulnerabilities Found

As it gains more users, Zoom's platform has come under intense scrutiny. Security researchers have found vulnerabilities in the company's video conferencing software that could lead to violations of users' privacy as well as give hackers the ability to eavesdrop or disrupt meetings, steal passwords and more (see: Zoom Rushes Patches for Zero-Day Vulnerabilities).

In Detroit, an April 1 public meeting about the city's water supply and other issues was cut off after someone hijacked the meeting, using racial slurs and explicit images, according to the Michigan Live news website.

In addition, ZDNet reports that teenagers and students are using Twitter, Reddit and other social networks to either organize disruptions or request that someone hijack a Zoom meeting.

An FBI warning on March 30 noted that school meetings and classroom lessons in Massachusetts have been interrupted by hate speech, threats from individuals or explicit images.

In order to cut down on some of these hacking and hijacking issues, Zoom announced Saturday that it would enable passwords and waiting room features by default with its free, single-license and K-12 offerings. The company is also preparing to enable better encryption and geo-fencing to address other security concerns with its platform (see: Zoom Promises Geo-Fencing, Encryption Overhaul for Meetings).

About the Author

Apurva Venkat

Apurva Venkat

Special Correspondent

Venkat is special correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She has previously worked at companies such as IDG and Business Standard where she reported on developments in technology, businesses, startups, fintech, e-commerce, cybersecurity, civic news and education.

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