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'Zoombombing': IGNOU online session disrupted by unruly participant

The incident during IGNOU's online session comes just a day after the deadline to update to 'Zoom 5.0' ended.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Sonipat | Updated: 01-06-2020 14:00 IST | Created: 31-05-2020 23:16 IST
'Zoombombing': IGNOU online session disrupted by unruly participant

An online session organized by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for hundreds of students was 'Zoombombed' by an unidentified participant on Sunday, sourced told Devdiscourse. 'Zoombombing' is when strangers barge into private calls having gained access to details required to join a meeting and disrupt the calls by using the platform's screen-sharing feature to share graphic content.

IGNOU's session was organized for 3 programs - MADVS, PGDDVS, PGDUPDL but was reportedly disrupted when an unruly participant joined the meeting and started projecting objectionable content. Prof. P.V.K. Sasidhar, the program coordinator, told Devdiscourse that the institution, as of now, has "no idea" how the disruption happened and alleged that it "could be a hacker".

The meeting ID, password, and the link to join the session were shared through email with students enrolled in these programs, which could have made it easier for miscreants to access the details required to join the session.

Zoom, whose daily participants have soared to 300 million from 10 million in just a few months, is fighting to dispel concerns over privacy and 'Zoombombing'. Hundreds of such incidents have been reported over the past few months and the company has taken various steps to counter security issues but their impact remains questionable.

The incident during IGNOU's online session comes just a day after the deadline to update to 'Zoom 5.0' ended. The company claims that the new version contains enhanced security controls and safeguards which include virtual meeting rooms to control who joins the meeting, the ability to remove and report participants who misuse the platform among other security features.

Commenting on the incident, a Zoom spokesperson said, "We have been deeply upset to hear about these types of incidents, and Zoom strongly condemns such behavior. We have recently updated a number of default settings and added features to help hosts more easily access in-meeting security controls, including controlling screen sharing, removing and reporting participants, and locking meetings, among other actions. We have also been educating users on security best practices for setting up their meetings, including recommending that users avoid sharing private meeting links and passwords publicly on websites, social media, or other public forums, and encouraging anyone hosting large-scale or public events to utilize the webinar solution. We take meeting disruptions extremely seriously and where appropriate, we work closely with law enforcement authorities. We encourage users to report any incidents of this kind to Zoom and law enforcement authorities so the appropriate action can be taken against offenders."


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