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Singapore’s Ministry Of Education Bans Zoom Over Security Issues

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Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has banned the use of video conference app, Zoom by its teachers highlighting more security concerns involving a home-based lesson. The country had closed its schools to contain its rising number of COVID-19 cases.


The Singaporean MOE said it is, at the moment, investigating the breaches, describing them as “serious incidents”.


Director of the Educational Technology Division at the MOE, Mr Aaron Loh said:


“As a precautionary measure, our teachers will suspend their use of Zoom until these security issues are ironed out”.


The class involved was a Geography class for first-year students that had about 39 students at the time of its hack.


“Two Caucasian men” had suddenly appeared, making lewd comments, after which the teacher immediately put an end to the class.


“Home-based learning is supposed to be a safe space. I know it’s difficult to manage but as a parent, I feel very concerned,” a parent told Straits Times.


Theoretically, hackers should not be able to gain access to such classes. Zoom meetings have a nine-digit ID and any user can join the meetings if they are not protected by the organiser.

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Mr Loh says that home-based learning will continue, however, teachers will use alternative means to conduct the lessons.


“We have reiterated and spelt out to all our teachers the security measures they must adhere to when using such video conferencing platforms. This includes requiring secure log-ins and not sharing the meeting link beyond the students in the class”, he said.


Zoom is facing a multitude of security issues after an explosion in use.    Photo: Deposit Photos


A Zoom spokesman told Strait Times that the firm has changed the default settings for education users. Zoom is adding passwords for its free basic users which it had not enabled previously.


“We have been deeply upset by increasing reports of harassment on our platform and strongly condemn such behaviour,” he said.


Following an explosion in its use, Zoom has been battling a myriad of security challenges. Users complain of unwanted intrusion by hackers who hijack meetings to shout lewd comments or racist remarks.


The incident is so popular that it is now called Zoom Bombing. Singapore Ministry of Education isn’t the first organisation to ban Zoom, Taiwan and Google have also banned their parastatals and employees from using the app.


The company had earlier said that in 90 days it would be “dedicating the resources needed to better identify, address, and fix issues proactively”.


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