Zoombombing! How To Stay Safe Online

Zoombombing is being experienced by some users of Zoom, the popular video conferencing application used by students. Imagine being in an online classroom with your teacher and suddenly having strange audio or video by an unfamiliar person show up on your screen!

With features such as chat and the ability to share one’s computer screen, Zoom has become the platform of choice for educators and students.

However, along with its popularity, there have been some security concerns as well. Besides zoombombing, the company has been criticized for sending user data to Facebook and tracking user attendance. Zoom’s CEO has apologized saying that his company was not prepared for the sudden increase in traffic and is actively fixing all security issues.

Staying Safe

Zoombombing happened because either users shared their meeting IDs on social media or internet trolls managed to hack the secret code to join other people’s meetings.

There are lessons for us all here. The Internet has become a big part of our lives these days as we access the web to research new topics, complete assignments for school, and communicate with friends.

Personal information, including meeting IDs and passwords should never be shared on social media or on online groups. Zoom recommends that people send the meeting ID to others privately and control who shares their screen, mute participants, turn off people’s videos and disable private chats.

Hackers are always looking for security weaknesses in websites as well as common login and password combinations, using powerful computers and cheap hacking software.

A Few Tips

Staying safe online begins with each and every one of us, and there are a few simple steps we can each take.

Think before you post: Know that posting in a public space means everyone, whether you like it or not, will see your posts. The Internet is a very public place and what you say or do remains on it forever as your digital footprint.

Think before you click: Do not click on strange ads or download songs and games from shady websites. That attractive picture or suggestive weblink could spell trouble, exposing your computer to a virus! Check to make sure you know the sender and download content from safe websites (read more about phishing here).

A strong, secret password: Use strong passwords for your online accounts; passwords like your birthday or your name are too obvious and make it easy for others to take control of your profile.

Share with care: Be careful about what you tell your online friends. Personal information like age and address should be a secret. Just as you want to keep yourself safe, make sure to respect others as well. It might seem easy and funny to tease someone without risking your identity, but remember that there is a person behind the other screen, just as capable of feeling scared or hurt as you are.

Consult an adult: If you ever feel uncomfortable or threatened, talk to a trusted adult. Remember, you are not alone. Ask your parents to set limitations on your devices to control what websites and apps can appear.

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