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FBI issues new warning amid concerns over Zoom's video security

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The FBI is out with a new warning about the potential for "Zoom-bombing," where hackers can take over video-conferencing on the popular app.Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley joins Seana Smith to discuss, as more Americans are working remotely.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance. The FBI is out with a warning about Zoom. So as more and more people turn to Zoom to stay connected during the coronavirus outbreak, the FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being interrupted by hackers.

We have Dan Howley here looking into this story for us. And, Dan, you and I have talked about multiple times over the last several weeks about how Zoom is really soaring in popularity. We have more and more people it seems like by the day that are logging on to Zoom, using their platform. What are the details just in terms of the FBI warning at this point?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, this is something called Zoom bombing, and basically what happens is the people who are using Zoom either don't set their particular conference to private or they use an easily guessed password, something along those lines. And people access the chat that they're in and then can scream profanities or, in some instances, post antisemitic images, hate speech, things along those lines. So they're just jumping into these people's chats, doing this, and then leaving.

And so the FBI is now warning people that if they are using Zoom, make sure they're using the latest version. Make sure they're setting their chats to private, especially if they're educators, people in the workforce, things along those lines, and ensuring that they're following best practices for internet security in general.

So this is something that is happening now just because of the massive spike in Zoom usage. We talked about that. As kind of the virus has spread across the world, Zoom told us that they saw increases following the virus's trajectory. So originally through Asia, then in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and finally into the US where it's really propagating now.

So it's incredibly popular at the moment among workers as well as regular citizens. So if you're using it, definitely set a proper password.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, Dan, I was looking-- there was an interesting chart here that we came across, and it was talking about how Facebook likes for Zoom shot up 15%. So it was a sign obviously there of substantial engagement and increased engagement over the last several weeks.

And what's also interesting too is that Zoom has posted more job openings-- so the fact that there is so much demand for their product, especially at a time like this. They're actually one of those companies that are looking to hire.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, and, you know, when I spoke to them about, I would say, two weeks ago, they were discussing how they were seeing this huge increase. And I said, well, what do you do when your servers get overwhelmed, or can they get overwhelmed? At that point they had said, look, we have enough capacity to deal with what we're seeing right now. But we are seeing things like-- for instance, this was in the middle of March, so they said they had reached what they normally see as far as the entire month of March in just the first 11 days.

So we're at the end of March now. Obviously you can imagine that the traffic they've seen has been exponentially larger. They are hiring more people, and they're likely adding more capacity. At the very least, they're able to dump off some onto the public cloud. You know, that's either through Amazon or Microsoft, someone along those lines, and kind of deal with it at that end. But yeah, adding more people, adding more capacity, and dealing with this huge surge of people because, hey, we're locked up.

SEANA SMITH: All right, Dan Howley, thanks so much.