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Computing

Victim of Zoombombing? Here’s How to Collect Your Payout

If you’re a Zoom user, you could be entitled to a minimum $15 payment for your troubles over the company’s security flaws that enabled the practice of “Zoombombing.”

The payment amount comes after Zoom announced earlier this year that it had reached an agreement of $85 million to settle the privacy issues at the heart of the class-action lawsuit.

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Zoombombing emerged as a result of lax security protocols inside Zoom’s videoconferencing and collaboration app, which gained popularity as a work tool during the global pandemic. Outsiders were able to hijack and disrupt private video calls as a result of Zoom’s security practices at the time. Disruptions could potentially involve vulgar, racist, pornographic, or otherwise objectionable conten.

The company has since made changes to how Zoom operates to prevent Zoombombing disruptions.

Even if you have never experienced Zoombombing, you can still be entitled to compensation as part of the class-action settlement terms. At the minimum, the agreement will pay you $15 for a claim if you ever registered, used, opened, or downloaded the Zoom Meeting App in the period between March 30, 2016 and July 30, 2021.

If you are a paid user of the Zoom Meetings App, you may eligible for a larger $25 settlement. Paid users can submit a claim for the larger amount of either $25 or up to 15% of the subscription cost before any optional features were tacked on, according to Zoom’s settlement agreement.

The bad news is that if you are a government user or an owner of an enterprise-level account, you’re excluded from making any claims.

If you qualify for either compensation level, you can make an online claim. The claim form must be completed by March 5, 2022. According to The Verge, the preliminary settlement has been approved by the court, but the final approval is subject to a final hearing scheduled for April 7, 2022.

Zoom has denied any wrongdoing as part of its settlement agreement.

As a result of the nuisance created by Zoombombing, the company has since made changes to the platform, including alerting users and hosts when meeting participants join from third-party apps, providing users with privacy training, and fixing its end-to-end encryption technology to make video calls more secure.

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Tech News

CNA ransomware reportedly lands a $40 million payout

Ransomware is nothing new and it targets individuals and big companies alike. Unlike with smaller infections, however, we often don’t hear how those end, especially with large companies that get billed millions in dollars to free their files. Just like with any kind of ransom, authorities discourage paying those to discourage further behavior. It turns out that one of the US’ largest insurance companies may have not heeded that warning and may have paid a hefty sum to get out of a ransomware situation.

It was just last March when Chicago-based CNA, which also offers cyber insurance, ironically, got hit by a ransomware attack. Investigations lead to the malware known as Phoenix Locker and hacking group Phoenix. Phoenix Locker is believed to be a variant of the Hades ransomware created by Russian cybercrime syndicate Evil Corp. that was sanctioned by the US in 2019. Hacking group Phoenix isn’t under US sanctions, at least not yet.

It was reported that the group demanded $60 million from CNA to free the files it encrypted. On May 12, the company explained that customer data, particularly those regarding records and claims, were not affected by the attack. Sources familiar with the matter claimed that CNA officials were locked out of their network instead.

That said, Bloomberg’s sources revealed that CNA paid a ransom just a week after ignoring those demands. Although it didn’t pay what the hackers demanded, it did put out $40 million to pay for those precious files. Naturally, CNA wouldn’t comment on paying that ransom and insists it followed all laws and guidance on handling the matter.

If, however, it is proven that it did pay that sum, it would be the highest ransomware payout so far, at least the ones we’ve heard about. It’s likely that some companies may have indeed paid those demands against the advice of authorities. They might just be better at keeping it under wraps than CNA.

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