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Louisville synagogue's virtual service hacked

Hackers have been entering private meetings and sharing unwanted information. Here's what you need to know to keep your meeting safe.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While most in-person meetings and classes have been canceled, many schools, workplaces and places of worship have been using virtual platforms like Zoom to meet.

While video communication services like Zoom or Skype give people an opportunity to see others through their phone or computer, hackers have been entering private meetings and sharing unwanted photos or videos.

Rabbi Robert Slosberg of Congregation Adath Jeshurun said he has been using Zoom for services, classes and coffee break meetings while in-person services have been canceled. During a service last week, Slosberg said hackers took over the meeting, sharing pornographic videos and anti-Semitic messages.

“It was like terror, it instilled terror in all of us," Slosberg said. "I tried to remove the people but there were so many of them that they kept coming in and I didn't know what I now know about ways to protect the room."

Slosberg was able to end the meeting after about a minute. Then he spent hours working to learn about Zoom’s security settings.

Slosberg is just one of many people hacked while using Zoom since the coronavirus outbreak. In a recent blog post, Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan talked about the company's issues and announced changes to security.

"We recognize that we have fallen short of the community's – and our own – privacy and security expectations," Yuann said. "For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it."

Zoom said it has released fixes for Mac-related issues, permanently removed the attendee attention tracker feature and will put all engineering resources into safety and privacy issues. Additionally, Zoom has also released a guide on how to keep people out of Zoom events.

How to keep your meetings safe:

The company said anyone with a link to your meeting can join, and recommends that people avoid using their personal meeting ID (PMI) to host public events. Instead, share your meeting ID. Never share that meeting ID on a public page. Share the link privately through a secure page, text message or e-mail.

You can also lock meetings that have already started so no new users can join, or use a waiting room to control who comes in and out of your meeting. With a waiting room, hosts can see who wants to come into a meeting, and allow them at any time.

The company advises that the host also never give up control of their screen. You can prevent people screen sharing by using the host controls at the bottom of the screen next to "Share Screen."

Skype suggests any users make sure to keep their profile visibility list to close contacts, not letting public people see your information.

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