Maite Nkoane-Mashabane Foto: gcis
  • A planned webinar by the department in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities was porn-bombed on Wednesday.
  • Hackers were able to gain control of the screen and shared pornographic material and propaganda during the meeting attended by more than 400 people.
  • Zoom's spokesperson says that webinars can be set up so that the host can have full control of the meeting.
  • Business Insider South Africa found out how you can make your chats safer.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

A planned webinar on Zoom by minister in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities, Maite Nkoane-Mashabane, was porn-bombed on Wednesday.

The webinar was meant to discuss the effects of Covid-19 on vulnerable members of society. Department spokesperson Shalen Gajadhar told EWN that the session was made public to increase attendance.

During the meeting, hackers were able to gain control of the screen and started sharing nudes and propaganda on the platform.

Gajadhar says about 400 people had indicated interest in the webinar, making it hard to vet participants prior to the meeting.

US venture capitalist, Hunter Walk and The Verge's Casey Newton were also porn-bombed during their #WFHappyHour in March. The happy hour is a daily Zoom chat for members of the tech industry.

According to TechCrunch's Josh Constine, someone entered the call — the link to which had been tweeted out by Walk and Newton — and started sharing their screen, displaying porn videos to the other members of the call. Constine described it as "Zoom Bombing." 

The troll was able to keep re-entering the call using a new username, and the only way to stop the call was to shut down the chat completely. 

Because the link to the call was shared publicly, anyone was able to enter the chat. The default setting on Zoom allows anyone to share their screens without permission from the call's host.

Zoom has recently seen a sharp uptick in usage as more workers shift to remote work as the coronavirus continues to spread. On 2 April they enabled additional  security features, like automatic password protection and waiting rooms, as opposed to being available as an optional previously. 

But if you're among the millions of users on Zoom's platform, you don't have to be too worried about being "Zoom Bombed": there's a way to turn off the screen-sharing setting and other potentially hazardous options.

Here's how to manually stop screen-sharing: 

When you open Zoom on your computer, you'll see the "Settings" menu on the left-hand side. Click on that ...

Zoom, porn bombing
Business Insider

... and scroll down until you get to this section. The "Screen sharing" setting is automatically toggled to "on" — turn that feature off.

Zoom, porn bombing
Business Insider

This is best to do before a call, but if you forget, there's a way to do it during a call as well.

While you're at it, disable "File transfer," too. It's automatically toggled on, but this would allow anyone to send you a file during a call. If you're doing public Zoom calls, definitely toggle this to "off" as well.

Zoom, porn bombing
Business Insider

A spokesperson for Zoom also noted that there's an option to set up a call as a webinar, which gives the call's hosts full control of the meeting and doesn't allow anyone else to share their screens.

Compiled by Bombi Mavundza. Additional reporting by Avery Hartmans 

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