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Zoom-bombing: teacher's online class hacked, Zoom increases security measures

They're called Zoom-bombers. Like photo-bombing, but hackers are intruding on Zoom meetings. (WRGB FILE)
They're called Zoom-bombers. Like photo-bombing, but hackers are intruding on Zoom meetings. (WRGB FILE)
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ALBANY (WRGB ) - Video chatting and online meetings have become the norm, during the Coronavirus pandemic. But now the FBI is warning about hackers.

They're called Zoom-bombers. Like photo-bombing, but hackers are intruding on Zoom meetings.

Deborah Nolan, a teacher in the Unatego Central School District, fell victim to a Zoom Bomber. She decided to host a Zoom online class for her 7th grade English class last week.

"I was really missing them and was sure that some of them probably need assistance with the material, so i decided to try Zoom." Deborah Nolan said.

MORE: NYC Schools ditch Zoom for online classes after reports of pornographic, hate fueled hacks

Her first class went well, but her second class of the day had an uninvited guest.

"When I opened my second class, and students were coming on board, there all of a sudden was an unfamiliar student, not with a student name, but kinda a username, and immediately started spilling profanity, constant profanity!" Mrs. Nolan said. "I panicked! I totally panicked, because i did not know what to do."

Mrs. Nolan didn't know how to mute or remove the hacker, so she ended the meeting.

"It was nothing they hadn't probably heard before, but at the same time, you just don't expect that kind of thing to happen." Mrs. Nolan said. "We were all so happy to see each other and then to have that be going on, it was just disturbing."

MORE: FBI investigating after two Massachusetts online classrooms hijacked by hackers

Then during her third class of the day, she was hacked again by three people, but she was more prepared and learned how to remove them.

CBS6 spoke with a cyber security specialist from Grey Castle Security.

Since then, the district created professional accounts for teachers, so they didn't have to use the free version of Zoom. Zoom also sent her an email about their updated security measures.

They say it's happening mostly in online classes where the link is shared with several people. "The likely scenario is that students are sharing [the links] with these people, they're probably intentionally doing it." Adam Dean, a Senior Security Specialist with Grey Castle Security said. "There is also a couple of cases where the attackers are, in a sense, forcing the links, so they're trying every single meeting ID until they get one that works."

MORE: After Utah children 'Zoom-bombed' with porn, here's how to secure your Zoom meetings

He says it's a concern with all web-conferencing platforms - but Zoom is one of the most popular. "Zoom, just like everyone else, wasn't expecting this to happen and have millions of people using their platform suddenly." Dean said.

Now Zoom has updated it's security measures for all users. Mrs. Nolan was emailed by the company with the updated security measures.

The program has enabled passwords and a waiting room for all meetings, so the host admits each participant. "That's really how you're going to filter out these bad actors and filter out people from zoom bombing you." Dean said.

He also suggests you don't use the Personal ID for meetings, only use the meeting ID. "If your ID gets out there, and your ID gets into these bad actors hands, they can join every single meeting that in a sense you're hosting." Dean said.

ALSO: Zoom call with Utah elementary students hacked with pornography

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And in general to keep your home network and computer safe from hackers, Dean says don't click on strange links or open attachments from people you don't know.

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