Avalanche of new remote workers creates latest playground for hackers
Hackers have found their new playground amid the increased use of video conferencing during the coronavirus pandemic: Zoombombing!
Named for the company Zoom, the unfortunate first high-profile victim of this phenomena, Zoombombing occurs when internet trolls hack video conference meetings and join as uninvited attendees. After infiltrating a meeting, the hackers then have their fun, doing everything from performing harmless pranks to posting sexually explicit content.
Ideas to keep your meetings private
You can protect yourself, your friends and your company while using popular video conferencing tools with these tips.
- Monitor meeting attendance. Designate an employee to monitor the attendees of your video conferencing meetings. By assigning a moderator (host), attendees can be removed or dismissed.
- Create a waiting room for new attendees. Most conferencing platforms have a feature called a waiting room. When this feature is enabled, each user who connects to your meeting is put in a queue. The meeting host then approves each person waiting in the queue for admission to the meeting.
- Turn off screen sharing for everyone but the meeting host. A favorite Zoombomber prank is to hack into a meeting, share their screen and then draw something really funny or inappropriate. Consider only allowing the meeting host to share a screen and to give permissions to others who subsequently want to share a screen.
- Password protect your meetings. As a meeting organizer, you can also choose to password-protect your meetings. Don’t forget to distribute the password to all attendees prior to the meeting.
- Carefully choose your video conferencing service. With many different companies offering video conferencing services, it can be difficult to find which company features the best security measures. Take the time to do your homework to find the platform that’s right for your business.
The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides individuals and businesses significant financial relief from the financial strain caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
Here is a snapshot of the unemployment benefits section of the bill and how it affects individuals and businesses.
- Who qualifies to receive unemployment benefits? In addition to full-time workers who are laid off or furloughed, the Act provides individuals who are not already eligible for state and federal unemployment programs, including self-employed individuals and part-time workers, a set amount of unemployment compensation.
- How much will I receive? There are two different components to the new law’s unemployment benefits:
- Each worker will receive unemployment benefits based on the state in which they work, and
- In addition to their state unemployment benefits, each worker will receive an additional $600 per week from the federal government.
- How will benefits for self-employed workers be calculated? Benefits for self-employed workers are calculated based on previous income and are also eligible for up to an additional $600 per week. Part-time workers are also eligible.
- How long will the state unemployment payments last? The CARES Act provides eligible workers with an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. Most states already provide 26 weeks of benefits, bringing the total number of weeks that someone is eligible for benefits to 39.
- How long will the federal payments of $600 last? The federal payment of $600 per week will continue through July 31, 2020.
- How do I apply for unemployment benefits? You must apply for unemployment benefits through your state unemployment office. Most state applications can now be filled out online. Workers who normally don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed individuals, need to monitor their state’s unemployment office website to find out when they can apply, as many states need to update their computer systems to reflect every type of worker who is eligible to collect unemployment benefits under the CARES Act.
What to do now
If you have not already done so, you must file for unemployment with your state as soon as possible. State offices and websites are being slammed, so the sooner you get in the queue the better for you and your loved ones. And remember, these benefits now apply to self-employed and part-time employees.
As you likely already know, on December 1 a rule was set to go into effect that would double the maximum salary from $23,660 to $47,500 that a person could make and be eligible for overtime pay. However, on November 22, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in Texas granted a nationwide injunction against the ruling, in essence agreeing with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 21 states that wanted it halted. This is a developing story and we are sure there will be additional news on this front soon, but we wanted to make sure you were aware of it. To read more see these articles from Reuters and NBC.