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Covid-19: Trolls Target Zoom’s Privacy Settings After a Surge in New Users

© REUTERS / DADO RUVICSmall toy figures are seen in front of displayed Zoom logo in this illustration taken March 19, 2020.
Small toy figures are seen in front of displayed Zoom logo in this illustration taken March 19, 2020.  - Sputnik International
Sharing illegal and offensive content ‘zoombombers’ flood public video hangouts, harassing self-isolating users relying on the service to continue work from home, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The video conferencing service, Zoom, has reported an increase in trolling after a wave of new users joined the site following the ongoing spread of Coronavirus.

Taking advantage of the site’s weak privacy settings, trolls have gained entry to numerous conference calls between users, broadcasting a range of inappropriate content in an attempt to force hosts to end calls.

Zoom addressed concerns of privacy violations on its products in a statement that said the company takes “user security extremely seriously” before adding that:

“Globally, 2,000 institutions ranging from the world’s largest financial services companies to leading telecommunications providers, government agencies, universities, healthcare and telemedicine practices have done exhaustive security reviews of our user, network and datacenter layers confidently selecting Zoom for complete deployment”.

Despite this statement from Zoom personal privacy settings for users remain unchanged, particularly policies surrounding how conference calls are created between users.

Information on Zoom’s website states that: ‘the host does not need to grant screen share access for another participant to share their screen’ allowing all users the ability to share content from their device.

Privacy settings can be changed by the host to stop users sharing screen video in chats however it’s something that remains largely unknown to most users.

Zoom hosts can disable pre-existing preferences in their settings or via Admin controls on a call. To do this, users must access ‘pre-meeting Setting’ or in the ‘in-call admin settings’ during a call to disable public settings.

On the back of this, users are also encouraged to refrain from publicly sharing conference links on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, as they are often picked up by trolls looking to abuse users.

Over the past two weeks, Zoom has become one of the most popular video-conferencing services after new users worldwide created accounts to stay connected with employers whilst working from home – after many offices and business closed their doors because of coronavirus outbreaks.

As it stands, there have been 558,416 cases of coronavirus across 199 different countries with a recorded 25,262 worldwide deaths after the virus first developed in the Chinese city of Wuhan in early January.

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