Ravens coach John Harbaugh concerned virtual NFL draft could be hacked via Zoom

When the 2020 NFL draft is held from April 23-25, NFL coaches and general managers will have to figure out how to navigate the event from home.

That was the edict issued by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday, as a memo outlined that all team personnel must operate from their separate homes for a "fully virtual" event amid the coronavirus pandemic. The unique setup prompted plenty of questions, including how decision-makers would communicate with one another while not putting any sensitive information about team plans at risk.

For Ravens coach John Harbaugh, the potential for a security breach on Zoom, which the team uses at times for internal discussions, is particularly troublesome.

“Yeah, big concern,” Harbaugh said during a conference call Monday, according to the Baltimore Sun. “Every time I read something in, like, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times that talks about how messed up Zoom is, or some of these other deals … I immediately text it to our IT people, and [director of football administration] Nick Matteo’s one of those guys, and they assure me that we are doing everything humanly possible."

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Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan apologized last Wednesday for the platform's security issues, including the outbreak of disruptive "zoom-bombings," saying it had "fallen short" of expectations.

“We’ll see what happens,” Harbaugh said. “I really wouldn’t want the opposing coaches to have our playbook or our draft meetings. That would be preferable, if we can stay away from that.”

In his memo to teams, Goodell said the league's information technology staff would be available to assist with preparation and answer any questions. 

The league in March closed team facilities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Goodell said that in addition to providing competitive balance, the step of ordering team personnel to work from home was necessary because "we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face."

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

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