Fourth Grader’s Zoom Class Interrupted By XXX Video As Part Of “Zoombombing” Trend

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As much of the nation adapts to conducting get-togethers, meetings, and even classes through video conferencing amid lockdowns and strict social distancing measures, a disturbing trend called “zoombombing” threatens to make an imperfect situation much worse.

Zoom, a free teleconferencing app that has become ubiquitous as the coronavirus pandemic shut down workplaces and schools across America, allows colleagues, students, and loved ones to video-chat with each other in realtime without any extra equipment or technology skills.

However, as an increasing number of people are finding out, it also allows virtual intruders to hijack conferences with pranks, obscenities, or even pornography.

According to KY3, Claudia Reyes, a Florida mother, said she was shocked when her fourth grader’s class meeting was interrupted by pornography.

“He was logged in. I was doing the dishes, then I started hearing bad words,” Reyes said. “So I’m like, ‘What’s going on? Are you in the class or are you in something else?’ He’s like, ‘No, I’m on the class.’”

Alarmed by what she heard, Reyes ran over to the laptop to find a pornographic video playing in the Zoom meeting.

“I put my hand on the other side of the screen so he wouldn’t see anything, but I could see the other kids’ faces and they were, like, shocked,” she said.

“At first I didn’t know what to do,” Reyes said. “My first reaction was to cover the screen, but then I closed the laptop and I could still hear them.”

According to Newsweek, a Connecticut teen was arrested and charged with a handful of computer crimes after being accused of repeatedly hijacking virtual classes in Madison while using “obscene language and gestures.”

“If you walk into a classroom and do what he [the teen] did to a teacher, you would be arrested,” said Madison Police Captain Joseph Race of the unnamed teen, who was charged with suspicion of committing a fifth-degree computer crime, fifth-degree conspiracy to commit a computer crime and breach of peace.

In another incident last month, a Massachusetts-based high school Zoom session was derailed when a person joined the conference and began yelling profanities and announcing the teacher’s home address.

Even town hall meetings have been subjected to abusive intrusion. In Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, local borough council president Leigh Twiford was forced to shut down an online town hall event when it was taken over by particularly aggressive zoombombers.

“I looked up at my screen from the report I was reading and there was porn on the screen,” Twiford told NPR.

“We just wanted to get the word out to our residents that … we’re here, we’re open, you know, the doors are locked, but we’re still working,” Twiford said. “Here are phone numbers that you can call if you need help. If you’re looking to volunteer, here’s how you can do that. It was kind of just a way to communicate with our borough because we haven’t been able to.”

Twiford tried to kick the intruders out, but to no avail.

“They would figure out legitimate names of people that were really residents of our town, and so they’d signed back in under that name,” she said. “So I didn’t know who was a real person and who wasn’t a real person.”

Newsweek noted that the FBI has received reports of “zoombombing” incidents nationwide. The bureau stressed that users should password-protect all meetings, never publicize meeting IDs on social media, only allow signed-in users to join via an email invite, and lock the meeting down completely to outsiders once everyone is present.

Nonetheless, some, like the Madison Public School district, are opting to use rival software Google Meet until they “can have more assurance that Zoom has addressed security concerns.”

Folks, we’ve warned for some time that the most insidious enemies can be right under our own roofs via our children’s phones, tablets, and computers.

While it is incredibly disappointing that any human being would subject others—especially children—to such abuse, we must not let down our guard.

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