Officials discourage use of Zoom, citing vulnerabilities in virtual platform

IT staff are warning members of the GW community to avoid using Zoom in light of a vulnerability potentially allowing hackers to send malicious links in chats.

The exploit within Zoom’s platform for Windows users may allow hackers to access online classes and video conferences, the Division of Information Technology said in an email Thursday. After accessing the call, third parties could send a malicious link that mimics a credible website to gain access to users’ computers, steal users’ NetIDs and passwords, execute unwanted software and send malicious messages.

There have been no known impacts to GW accounts, the email states.

“GW Information Technology continues to take proactive measures to keep our campus community safe,” the email states. “Please be aware that phishing attempts often seem legitimate. It is important for faculty, staff, and students to be extremely vigilant and take steps to secure logins, passwords, and data.”

The email recommends using Webex, a University-supported virtual meeting platform, or Blackboard Collaborate for video conferencing. Users should secure meetings with passwords, verify participants in meetings and avoid clicking on unknown links or links that begin with a double backslash, according to the email.

Faculty and students are about to enter their third week of classes online as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the District.

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