0203 zoom bombing

Someone hacked into an Anacortes High School class taking place via Zoom on Jan. 22, showed a pornographic image and “wrote some inappropriate comments,” Police Capt. Dave Floyd said.

The incident occurred about 10:46 a.m., according to the Skagit 911 dispatch log. “The teacher quickly addressed that and took that person out of the group,” Floyd said.

The unknown individual is not a student at the high school. Investigators hope to track down a suspect once the School District’s IT department identifies the person’s IP address, Floyd said.

Floyd said such incidents have occurred across the U.S. since school districts turned to online classes in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, a contagious acute respiratory disease.

“I’ve heard of this occurring elsewhere,” Floyd said of online class hacking.

The FBI issued a warning on March 30 of teleconferencing and online classroom hijacking, also called “Zoom-bombing.” In some cases, classes or conferences were disrupted by pornograpy, hate images and threatening language.

The FBI website offers the following steps to prevent teleconference hijacking:

• Do not make meetings public. “In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests,” the FBI advised.

• Provide the teleconference link directly to specific people, not via social media.

• Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”

• Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated its software, adding passwords by default for meetings and disabling the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.

The FBI asks that teleconference hijacking and other cyber crimes be reported to its Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. The FBI asks that specific threats be reported to tips.fbi.gov or call the FBI Seattle Division at 206-622-0460.

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