NYC Schools Ban Zoom Use Over Security, Privacy Issues

Teachers are being encouraged to switch from Zoom to Microsoft Teams for their online courses.

NYC Schools Ban Zoom Use Over Security, Privacy Issues

New York City teachers have been told to stop using Zoom to connect with their students for remote learning due to concerns about security and privacy breaches.

The city’s department of education says it has received several reports of security breaches related to the videoconferencing app. In some cases, strangers have been able to join chats, reports NBC New York.

The department is encouraging teachers to use Microsoft Teams instead of Zoom.

Since March 23, New York City public schools switched all of their in-person classes to online formats. The switch was made to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, the FBI warned the public that online classrooms and teleconferencing apps were being hijacked or “Zoom bombed.” Online meetings were interrupted with porn, threats and hateful content.

The FBI recommends the following steps to mitigate Zoom’s teleconference hijacking vulnerabilities:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
  • Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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