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Bay Area school officials work on dealing with ‘Zoom bombers’ in virtual meetings

Bay Area

BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — As many organizations shift to virtual meetings, some are now dealing with unwanted guests.

They’re called “Zoom bombers”, where people join public meetings and say or do inappropriate things.

It happened at a Berkeley High School last month and now, at an East Bay community college.

The Contra Costa Community College campus was conducting a virtual meeting with students and community leaders when it was hacked with child pornography.

“The meeting was interrupted by a zoom bomber or somebody essentially hacking into the meeting and taking control of that meeting,” Tim Leong, Contra Costa Community College District Director of Communications and Community relations said.

On Monday, about 50 students and community members gathered for a virtual town hall to hear about the latest campus updates.

Campus officials say the hacker was able to get back in the meeting and that’s when they ended it immediately.

“At that point, we decided that it was in the best interest of everybody to just shut down,” Leong said.

It’s not the first time it’s happened.

In April, Berkeley Unified School District temporarily suspended online distance learning via Zoom and Google meet after a man reportedly appeared naked in a virtual lesson at Berkeley High School.

Cyber security experts say to prevent the so called Zoom bombers, one should turn off screen sharing for everyone except for for the meeting host and co-host.

Also mute audio and disable video for meeting attendees.

Generate a random meeting id and always use a meeting password.

Back in March, the FBI warned teleconferencing and online classroom hijacking during the COVID-19 pandemic and recommends exercising due diligence and caution in cybersecurity efforts.

A police report was filed at Contra Costa Community College.

“We are working, continuing to work with them to hopefully identify and find these perpetrators so that others won’t have to go through what we’ve gone through,” Leong said.

The FBI has received complaints in Massachusetts, but if anyone were a victim of a cyber crime should report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Click here for Zoom Video Privacy and Security.

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