You may have heard that Zoom, the platform we’re using for online worship and lots and lots (and lots and lots) of online meetings has had a bit of bad press for security issues. We want you to know that we have checked and will continue to check all potential issues we are made aware of to ensure that all worshipers, meeting participants, and their devices are safe and secure to set your mind at ease here are some of the issues we know about and why we feel confident in our security.
While it may sound violent, at its heart “Zoombombing” is the same thing as “Photobombing” only in a digital meeting environment. Someone logs in to a meeting uninvited and makes a scene of the place.
Why it matters.
Most “Zoombombing” is good-natured practical joking or even edifying opportunities for strangers to share a little random love in the midst of a dark time. Some is darker in nature. There have been reports of people logging in to meetings and acting or speaking lewdly to the participants. This could be unsettling at best and harmful at worst.
What we’re doing about it.
Every meeting has at least one “host”. During worship we have at least 2 “hosts” each of whom have the ability and authority to remove participants from meetings. While we will never remove any person for any reason other than lewd or damaging behavior, we are ready to ensure the content of our times together online remain edifying through the use of the “remove” button.
“Hacking” into web cams
This isn’t actually a flaw of Zoom, but of the cameras we use to show ourselves on Zoom. This threat is universal for all devices that have built-in cameras or external cameras whether attached wirelessly or with a cord.
Why it matters
Hackers have the ability to engage web cams remotely without their indicator light coming on. This would allow them a view into the room where your camera is without your knowing they’re there.
What you can do about it
While this “hack” is frightening and somewhat frequent relative to other kinds of attacks it also fortunately very easy to prevent. If you have a web cam at your house simply make sure that it is disconnected, powered completely off, or covered with a physical mask of some kind when not in use. A piece of masking tape over the lens is a low-budget, highly effective measure. So is simply unplugging your external camera or closing your laptop. If you camera is physically disconnected or covered hackers cannot see into your home.
There is founded concern that Zoom could leave one’s computer or device vulnerable to intrusion from outside.
Why it matters
We use all kinds of data on our devices and much of it is necessarily private, (passwords, banking data, family photos, correspondence, etc). The worry is that Zoom could leave our computers vulnerable to access from those who would use such data to benefit themselves as our expense.
What is being done about it
While major companies have reason for more caution when employees use Zoom to discuss sensitive information, we are not entirely immune, so we’re proceeding with caution. We will continue to learn more about how to protect church assets and those of our worshipers and meeting attendees. At the moment we do not believe any critical information is at risk, nor do we (or will we ever) share such information via Zoom. The only information we tend to exchange via Zoom is scripture, its interpretation, times of good fellowship, and some really fantastic music. We’d be more than happy for these things to be stolen and shared broadly.
Additionally Zoom has announced today the hire of a new Chief Security Officer with a proven record of success to help them address existing issues.
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