As more classes go online with video meeting app Zoom due to the COVID-19 restrictions, bad actors are making use of social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to organise harassment campaigns, or what has come to be known as “Zoomraiding” or “Zoombombing”, the media reported.
There are several accounts on Instagram and Twitter asking people to share Zoom meeting codes so that they can raid those video conferences or classes organised through the app, CNET reported on Friday. While Instagram is in the process of pulling down accounts that claim to offer Zoomraiding, the menace is far from over.
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“Zoomraiding” or “Zoombombing” has emerged as a new type of online harassment in which hate speech, pornography or other inappropriate content is suddenly flashed by disrupting a video call on Zoom. Twitter is also reportedly looking at how it can deal with the issue.
After The New York Times discovered 153 Instagram accounts created for Zoombombing, the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing app on Friday said it was still in the process of pulling down accounts and hashtags used for Zoombombing.
Teenagers running those accounts told the news outlet that they found Zoomraiding a way to escape completing school work.
As you stream your favourite movies or TV series on Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu, or connect with your team via video meet app Zoom, leading Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the backdrop is ensuring seamless, scalable and secure connectivity to help people at home and organisations function while they can’t operate normally at work.
According to AWS CEO Andy Jassy, a lot of things that are allowing humanity to deal with the global health crisis run on top of AWS which is Amazon’s Cloud arm and topped $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in the January-March period.
“We’re just trying to help our customers in various areas. If you look at Netflix, it runs completely on top of AWS. So does Disney Plus. Hulu runs on AWS. Prime Video runs on AWS. All those entertainment pieces have kind of made time go by,” Jassy said during a fireside chat at AWS Online Summit recently.
“Fortnite runs on top of AWS, and so does Sony PlayStation. A lot of other popular games too,” he informed. The popular Battle Royale game Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game.
According to Jassy, AWS has its own video-conferencing service in Chime. “But a lot of people use Zoom, and the vast majority of Zoom’s cloud infrastructure runs on AWS and will for the foreseeable future,” he said. Amazon Chime Voice Connector is a service that enables enterprises to migrate their telephony workloads to AWS.
If you have kids at home, you also realise they’re all doing e-learning at the moment. “If you just look at companies like Blackboard and Instructure’s Canvas, which run on top of AWS. A lot of the things that are allowing us to deal with the crisis run on top of AWS. So we’re just trying to help our customers in various areas,” Jassy emphasised. AWS today offers 15 purpose-built database engines including relational, key-value, document, in-memory, graph, time series, and ledger databases.
“We have an unmatched number of those purpose-built databases that people are getting real value from and are changing the way they build applications. So (for us), it’s just the way that people are rethinking how they build in this unprecedented era of data growth,” informed Jassy. It is interesting to see how manufacturing and industrial organisations are changing in these Covid-19 times.
“In these industrial organizations, they have all of these assets that function in their facilities and their factories, and they collect really important data. And today they’re largely sending that data, through AWS IoT, to the cloud to store it and to analyze it,” said Jassy. Amazon AWS IoT has done well in terms of completeness benefiting from a robust Cloud IoT and Application Enablement capabilities. Further, AWS has been building its edge capabilities via AWS Greengrass.
AWS has grown into a behemoth in itself, raking in $10 billion in sales in the first quarter this year, with a super annual run rate of more than $40 billion. The cloud computing service logged $10.2 billion in sales in the March quarter, up from $7.7 billion from the year-ago quarter – a growth rate of 33 per cent.
According to Amazon, AWS now spans 76 Availability Zones within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. (IANS)
There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.
‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.
Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.
Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.
Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:
Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?
Where can I get emergency help?
What does the situation look like right now on the roads?
What are the queues like at the shops?
How much longer will supplies last?
Are courier services working in the area?
Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?
Can I visit the police stations?
Are postal services working in the area?
How do I obtain a curfew pass?
What is the situation at the hospitals?
Are there any blood donor requests?
In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.
Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.
Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)
Two United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Indian expats started free online coaching for children who have dropped out of after-school private tuition because of the coronavirus pandemic, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news reported.
Simran Kanal and Mehak Lalchandani, who have been best-friends from their Dubai school days, were running their newly-founded ‘#PandemicCamp’ to provide free online coaching for CBSE students whose parents can no longer afford private tutors, reports Gulf News.
Pandemic Camp is offering free Zoom lessons in English, Maths and Hindi for grades one to five, taught by the two former CBSE students Kanal and Lalchandani, both 2014 alumni of The Millennium School in Dubai.
“We’re both very compassionate, both as students and as teachers. We came across parents who have had to withdraw their children from private tuition, so this camp is a way we wanted to give back to society,” said Kanal, a freelance journalist and writer who works for an online marketplace platform.
Lalchandani, a finance degree holder, said: “Since we’re very familiar with the CBSE curriculum, that is why we chose CBSE and are catering to primary school grades.”
She said the sudden switch to distance learning has not been easy for students, teachers and parents.
“In a classroom, you have 30 students and you have to personally go to a student and see what they’re doing in their book. But when you have 30 students online, then it’s very difficult for that one-on-one help,” Gulf news quoted Lalchandani as saying.
Kanal said compared to her school days, students today in grade four or five have “tremendous assignments” that often need close help by parents, who themselves have to learn new digital skills. (IANS)