Zoombombing Is A Crime, Not A Prank, Prosecutors Warn

from ars technica

Coronavirus-related social distancing measures have given a big popularity boost to Zoom, a video conferencing platform that’s known for its ease of use but not necessarily strong security or privacy protections. Internet trolls and other troublemakers have responded with “Zoombombing”: joining Zoom meetings uninvited and disrupting them. Zoombombers have exposed themselves to schoolchildren and shouted racial slurs.

In a Friday statement, federal prosecutors in Michigan warned the public that Zoombombing isn’t a harmless prank; it’s a crime.

“Hackers are disrupting conferences and online classrooms with pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” wrote the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. “Anyone who hacks into a teleconference can be charged with state or federal crimes.”

Possible charges include “disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications,” the prosecutors warn. All of these charges come with the potential for fines and jail time, the authorities say.

More here.

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46 Comments

  1. There have been a couple of times where I have been in a Zoom meeting for class and someone who was not in the class had joined our meeting. The student then proceeded to answer questions the professor asked, but had given a totally Wong answer, in an attempt to get some laughs. I do not think someone like this should have a run in with the law. I do however, believe the people who join Zoom meeting to shout racial slurs, use profanity, or expose their bodies in anyway should have a run in with the law, especially when there are children present. There is also a fine line between just a harmless prank, and a crime, it all depends on what the person does. “Zoombombing” can also be avoided if professors or whoever is in charge of the meeting locks the meeting and/or requires a password to join.
    I do think that there be consequences for the students who give the zoom codes to their friends. They are fully aware of what they are trying to get their friends to do, and sometimes coheres them into doing a certain prank or action to get laughs or attention on social media. If a professor were to find out if one of their students were handing out the zoom codes to their friends who were not in the class, I believe that action would be taken by most.

  2. I have not been in a class that has fallen victim to zoombombing yet, but I have heard of several instances of this occurring. On social media there are many videos of Instagram influencers doing this and receiving a lot of praise for their comedic efforts, but in reality it is disrupting a class that students have paid a lot of money to be in. Additionally, it puts a lot of unneeded stress on the instructors who already have to deal with completely changing the way they instruct their course. However, I think that it is a little extreme to make this a crime, especially if it is for comedic purposes like what is shown on social media. The nation is going through a very difficult time and some comedy would surely not hurt anyone, especially in an educational setting. I do think that zoombombing should be a crime if the hackers resort to using racial slurs and showing pornographic images during the class, because that would not make very many people laugh and it would make people feel unsafe. Also, many people are being released from prison due to the outbreak of the virus so I don’t think the nation is in a position to take in a bunch of kids who essentially prank called a classroom. If a teacher is truly against this happening, there are several security steps the instructor can take such as putting a password on the class or switching to canvas conferences, which also requires a password to access. All in all, I think it is a little ridiculous for the state of Michigan to make zoombombing a serious crime, unless there is evidence of malicious intent.

  3. It is crazy to think about how much the world is changing from all that is going on today. People are completely taken away from any physical social interaction with one another. Zoom or some type of web conferencing platform has taken over my college experience. Even things like going to the gym to take classes is now online to do. Everyone has been forced to shift with the times that occurring now. It seems all very weird to me that this has become my new normal. Many people are finding themselves jobless and have either nothing to do at home or have a family they still have to provide for. With so many people at home using technology to get their jobs done or get to classes the new ways to disrupt people’s lives are going to change with the times as well.
    People are going into zoom calls to act funny or do other disrupting behaviors are not funny. It just sounds like it would be very annoying not only for the teacher but to the students as well because people are trying to learn or they’re trying to get their work done. I personally haven’t had any classes where someone zoom bombed. I do know many people who have had it happen to their classes though. I think a lot of this is coming from people being at home bored and not knowing what to do with themselves. This article has me thinking about what the future crimes are going to be like. This is just a small inconvenience, but I start to think about the bigger things that could potentially happen because everyone is so reliant on technology now. Especially after COVID is a thing of the past many businesses and even schools will continue with online learning and remote working. It creates a new opportunity for bigger and smarter crimes to occur. Crimes that don’t even involve people actually physically being there to get caught. It also is going to push the government to have to come up with new laws for online crimes and what is right and wrong on the internet. They’re some laws now but I don’t think it is up to date with where we are in the technology world now. These platforms like zoom are going to have to put in more security to ensure that things like this can’t occur.

  4. Zoombombing is something that many schools and universities did not expect. In order for children and young adults to continue learning, Zoom is a necessity. Online learning is a huge transition to begin with, and hackers joining Zoom meetings unannounced and disrupting class is something that teachers, professors, and school need to deal with. Personally, I don’t have any classes on Zoom, but I have heard many stories about Zoom meetings going wrong. For example, my aunt is an 8th grade teacher and on her first Zoom meeting with her class, a Russian man hacked the meeting and spoke Russian the entire time. However, not only was it hackers that disrupted the class, there were students who acted inappropriately. She said it was very hard to keep the class under control. I believe it is up to the parents who need to ensure that it is a learning environment, however, this may be difficult if parents are at work. Therefore, I believe it is smart and important that federal prosecutors state Zoombombing is a crime and there are consequences. Possible crimes for “disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications” are fines or jail time. Zoom has also taken smart precautions by protecting Zoom users. Zoom meetings can be protected by a password and only those with the ID and the password can enter. Also, hosts can take control of the meeting by disabling “Join Before Host” or the “waiting room” feature. This allows the host to verify each participant before they enter the meeting. These are important features that hosts of Zoom meetings must use to protect students and other users. Zoomboming is truly not a funny prank, it affects younger, innocent students from college students, trying to focus on their careers. However, it is important to consider college students who think it’s funny to have inappropriate behavior. Another example I heard from a friend is a college student on Zoom smoking weed and drinking alcohol, meanwhile the professor is trying to instruct a class. Students must take meeting and learning seriously, because universities and professors put alot of time and effort into transitioning online, which is difficult.

  5. Tim’s article speaks about zoombombing and how it could lead to criminal charges. I personally think zoombombing college students is slightly funny (when college students hand out the passcode to their friends or family members), but like every other joke there are lines we should not cross. Some zoombombers have been exposing themselves to schoolchildren and shouting racial slurs, this is when the line gets crossed. Hacking is another issue associated with this, individuals are hacking into zoom and by doing so, it is breaking the law. These types of individuals should be punished by law.
    It is hard to tell if the blame for zoombombing should be placed on hackers or on zoom. Was zoom ready for the massive surge of users? We have seen many times in history regarding service companies failing due to unexpected circumstances. Is zoom another victim to poor service planning? Or is it the hacker’s fault for being childish for breaking the law, making the zoombombing unavoidable for zoom?

  6. The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused universities to cancel all in-person classes, and transform them into online classes. This is possible through a popular platform used by many universities, Zoom. Zoom is video conferencing platform, that has made it easy for professors to hold their classes virtually for their students. The platform provides options to record lectures, have shared screens, and more useful tools. Although this is an easy to use and helpful platform, they lack strong security and privacy protections. There have been some incidents of “Zoombombing.” This is when people who are not invited, join a public meeting and disrupt it in a harassing way. This is not a funny prank, but it is considered crime. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan stated that hackers that disrupt zoom conferences and act in a harassing way, will be charged with state or federal crime (Arstechnica). People may find this funny and harmless, but in reality, they are considered hackers. Hackers have said harassing and inappropriate comments, security controls need to be added to the platform to avoid this from happening in the future.
    In order to prevent these “Zoombombings” from happening, security measures and controls need to be placed to ensure privacy for classes. The conference should be only be open to students for the class, it should be a private meeting. A security measure could be entering a password to enter the meeting. Another security measure could be the professor can monitor and only accept people to enter the meeting if they are in the class. Zoom is a great, useful platform, but security measures need to be improved to avoid disruptions.

  7. In this article it describes the Zoombombing and the impact it has had on people that use zoom as a resource. Before the current crisis, zoom was not quite as popular but the economic downturn has caused zoom to become a valuable resource. Since zoom was not used frequently, security issues were not a problem. However, with social distancing and worldwide lockdown, people are using zoom technology as a way to continue socializing. Schools are using zoom as well to conduct classes. This has allowed people to be more interactive on the internet. On the other hand, internet trolls have responded to this change with interfering zoom meetings and exposing some form of inappropriate content. This is the concept labeled ‘zoombombing’. Zoombombers main priority is to interfere with zoom meetings and produce negative content like racial slurs.
    Federal prosecutors have responded to this situation stating that zoombombing is not a joke or a prank it’s a crime. An attorney wrote “Anyone who hacks into a teleconference can be charged with state or federal crimes”(Lee). Especially, the state of Michigan is enforcing strict rules against zoombombing. It has been labeled a criminal offense that could result in fines and jail time. Also, zoom has taken measures to improve their security protocol. They have provided the option for a meeting host to hold more power when a meeting is conducted. As a host, you will have the option to determine which person is allowed into the meeting. You also have the option to set a meeting password so random people cannot enter. These security measures have proven to be effective. Zoombombers are placed in a position with limited options. They either have to stop and end their unethical behaviors or face the law.

  8. Zoom is a video conference platform that Universities and schools around the world are using to keep their students learning and teachers teaching even while not face to face. There have been “zoombombers” who are internet trolls and trouble makers who have disrupted zoom classes and joined sessions uninvited and have been exposing themselves to school children and shouting racial slurs. In a statement from federal prosecutors in Michigan they stated “Zoombombing is not a harmless prank it’s a crime”. There have been cases that these zoombomber have been interrupting zoom classes and showing pornographic or hate images and threatening language. People who now hack zoom conferences can be charged with federal crimes. Charges can result in jail time and large fines. There have been pranksters who think zoombombing is funny but the tables have turned where these pranksters can now have prosecutors knocking at their door and be arrested for acting childish.
    There have been some solutions to have Zoom meetings be more secure as the Zoom conferences do not have the best security and can be easily accessed by any users. Some suggestions by law enforcement include to have meetings that are password protected and do not announce login information on social media or different public channels. There have been other aspects that instructors can do as Zoom allows for a “waiting room” and now teachers can verify their student before they let them into their virtual classroom. Also Zoom has a feature where they can disable “Join Before Host” which means hosts can be sure to have control of the meeting before students join. I agree with what Cameron said “Zoombombing is something that many schools and universities did not expect”. I believe Zoombombing is a very immature act and people who have time need to prank classes they are not a part of to gain social media publicity need to spend their time better and grow up. The rules that have been implemented by law enforcement, is the right move to put an end to the zoombombers and once a few pranksters get jailed or largely fined other pranksters will stop. I have seen videos on YouTube where people are interrupting lectures by smoking weed and drinking alcohol and this is uncalled for since teachers are only trying to teach and do their best by educating their students even through this difficult pandemic. Professors are doing their best to teach and trying to make the best of the situation at hand and this can not be done when they are being interrupted because of foolish pranksters.

  9. Due to the current circumstance, millions of students have shifted towards remote learning. In the attempt to salvage the learning experience for students, many instructors have implemented and incorporated Zoom in their daily schedule. It serve as a substitute, simulating what it would be like to be in a classroom setting. However, in the attempt to do so, many students and instructors have encountered problems that not only tarnishes the quality of the learning experience but also leaves many traumatized. Unfortunately, there are some who take amusement on disrupting and distorting the the ambiance of a professional or educational environment. Moreover, it is absolutely ridiculous that there are people actively attempting to disrupt the time students as well as professionals have for learning and working. As I am sure that not everyone engaging in Zoom conferences have experienced such issues, I think that it is completely necessary that we institute preventative measures just like that of which was mentioned in the article. It is exceptionally crucial to maintain the integrity of these platforms and not subject the students to such scenario. In addition, I find it very comforting that law enforcement have not taken this issue lightly and convicting those who violate such laws. I can only hope that it diminishes these kind of cases and reestablishes the security of many of those who are utilizing Zoom.

  10. Zoombombing is growing as young people think it is funny to join in and make funny faces and disrupt a call, but when does it turn from fun and games or an annoyance to all-out ignorance. The joining of a call and doing things such as what is said in the article of exposure and racial slurs is unacceptable. I know myself as a student would not want this to happen in the middle of a class, as it already is hard enough to focus in class online. One thing that this article does fail to point out is that Zoom does have preventative measures for things like this. Hosts can set their meetings to have a password on top of the 9 digit code and this would stop many of the zoombombing situations unless one of the students in the course was to give it out. This is a much more efficient way to keep from these zoombombers from ruining your meetings. I also believe the best way is to make a new meeting with a different code and different passwords for every class. I know one of my professors has a scheduled meeting which is a great tool, but without a password and not changing the code to join, it makes him susceptible to being hit by a zoombomber. All in all, it can be fun and games but it should not be taken as far as it has and people need to take preventative measures to make a safe and comfortable atmosp[here for students and colleagues.

  11. Zoombombing is something that has been impacting countless universities across the nation. “Hackers” will get the codes to other zoom classes and disrupt the professor/students. Oftentimes they will display pornographic and/or hate images with threatening language. This has been an extreme breach of privacy and teachers are not sure how to combat it. Many universities are thinking about going to the extreme and banning the use of zoom overall. If this is the case, professors will be forced to learn a new program from scratch since they are unable to use zoom anymore. I have had multiple close friends tell me that random people had joined their zoom session and started disrupting the class by smoking and yelling profanity.

    Unfortunately for them, this is not a prank and is taken very seriously by authorities. Some of the potential charges include: “disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, fraud, as well as many others. Many students find it funny to have their friends join their zoom session and disrupt the class. I do think that those students should be penalized in some way to show that their actions were unacceptable. People who post videos on youtube and Instagram of them joining random zoom sessions should also face consequences.

  12. I have not experienced a class that has been joined by someone that is not supposed to be there. Most classes that I have usually involve students with their mics and cameras off. I have a class that has 50 people which only about 4 people participate in and the rest are in stealth mode in the background. This week however i have experienced several changes to two classes on zoom. A night class requires all of us to keep our cameras on to receive credit and engage in the topics that were being presented. There is also a feature zoom that allows for a virtual background and or video and by playing around with the feature I discover that I can leave video of myself for 10 seconds that loops which in fact would allow me to leave that video as a virtual background. Having that video as a virtual background means that I can log in, put that video and when a class requires it and video can get me to receive credit without actually having my computer in front of me.
    Another change that I have seen in another class is that professors have created waiting rooms which allow them to approve who can join the meeting. This really threw me off because I was not sure what the purpose of the waiting room was for. However now reading about zoom pranks, it actually is a smart move by professors so that they can put a stop to such pranks. I also am now required with my institution credentials to be allowed to join into a meeting as well something that at the beginning was not required, this seems odd because I did not have to do that before. Now the punishment should involve the law but only when a zoom prank becomes dangerous to all the individuals in the meeting. There should be punishment from their institutions for bargaining into other meetings where they should not be at.

  13. The article Zoombombing is a Crime, Not a Prank, talks about the emerging trend of zoombombing. Zoombombing is when uninvited people join a zoom conference call.In some cases the hacker is showing pornographic or hateful images, and using inappropriate language. Now prosecutors are saying that these hackers can face fines and jail time. I’m not surprised that this is a trend. With the corona virus and the social distancing rules, zoom has become a lot more popular in the corporate and academic community. I think it will be hard to prosecute these people for a number of reasons. One, once the user leaves it will probably be hard to track him down. I doubt teachers or managers, leading the meeting will know how to find out who was hacking their call. Most people running the meetings are probably still trying to learn how to use all of zooms features. In the cases that people are showing inappropriate images or exposing themselves should definitely be prosecuted, especially if it is children. I have seen a few videos from a popular prank group on youtube, who will join a zoom class room and disrupt it for a few minutes. They usually pretend to be a student and cause some sort of awkward situation. They get in to the call because fans will share their codes with them. Nothing they do is too offensive or serious. It is all in good fun, although it is disruptive. I don’t think people like that should be prosecuted. The situation the world is going through is very serious and little fun here and there should be appreciated. My point is, I think there is a large difference in the intentions of people doing it to be funny for a few minutes, and people doing it to cause distress. I also think schools can work to make their zoom calls more protected. I know Rider has their own zoom outlet (for a lack of a better word), where you need a rider email to join the call.

  14. Zoombombing is something that I’ve seen a lot on social media not as a crime, but as a prank. Now that this is being seen as a crime and not a prank this will surely not contiue too much longer. Zoom has caused a lot of technical difficulties for both students and teachers alike, however the bombing is the worst part. Some people think this is funny, as the bombers come in to make jokes, or even in certain cases they have removed people out of the conference entirely. This is threatening the school and those attempting to learn and graduate. In any case, as they said these “bombers” can hack certain systems to get involved in the conference, and in other cases it is students who give out the log-in information to allow people to join the class. I know multiple people who have either been the “bomber” or assisted someone else in “bombing” the class. Rider however has taken steps to prevent any of our classes from this “zoombombing”. You must have a rider email to log-in to the system which does provide a layer of protection but someone could surely get another student’s email and password if the student wanted the class bombed. I personally haven’t had any classes affected by this.

  15. This article is very interesting because it amazes me that people would want to do this. The people committing this crime are wasting people’s time and disrupting children’s learning. They interrupt meetings and teachings and do terrible things that could possibly traumatize the people in the meeting. Children are in these meetings and they are trying to learn, which is already difficult because the level of teaching and learning is different now. These criminals could be exposing the kids to things that they should be shielded from. Other than hurting the children there are people entering meetings and saying hateful and offensive things to the meeting’s audience. There is nothing comical about this crime especially in a time like this.

    The COVID-19 is a very serious sickness and yet people have still managed to continue to disrupt people even inside of their homes. Zoombombing is a crime that holds no value to the criminal, they do not come out of the crime any richer or better, yet they continue to do. Maybe this crime has always existed but now it is getting more attention now that the better half of the population is using the Zoom platform. The crime does not seem to be worth any of the penalties that come with it. The next issue is that someone is leaking the information needed to access the meeting which is inconsiderate. Just because you have no interest in learning does not mean that you have the right to take away someone’s chance at learning. However, Zoom now has passwords for each meeting which is a great security measure unless a hacker can figure out how to get around it.

  16. I found this article very interesting to read. I was not aware that hackers can have access to Zoom meetings or what “Zoombombig” is. Zoombombing is the name of a hacker or person that interrupts a Zoom teleconference. My university uses Zoom as a replacement for face to face lectures or one to one meetings with our teacher. The article was very informative and warns the public especially students or teachers that to use passwords when entering a Zoom meeting. I actually received an email from my school today, warning all students and teachers to change their Zoom meetings/classes and add a password to it. It just shocked me a little to know these kinds of things are happening even in a pandemic. But it is good to know that they are consequences for these hackings and interruptions that are happening. It is a true crime to hack, hopefully these consequences help lessen these “Zoombombings.”

  17. Difficult times come with difficult measures, like remote learning. As we all get accustomed to learning from the comfort of our homes, students are taking advantage of this and are “Zoombombing”. I originally never knew what this was until I read the article. Essentially Zoombombing is where someone joins an uninvited Zoom meeting and is disruptive. This is supposed to be something fun and amusing, however, it has taken a different toll. I personally don’t understand how and why someone would come to these meetings because it is extremely rude. It would be no different than coming into a regular face-to-face classroom and disrupting the kids learning experience as well as the professor. Although, people who are doing this find it easier to hide behind a screen and conduct this inappropriate behavior. As a consequence investigation has been placed to get to the bottom of this. The students who have committed this “crime” are being charged for it, lawfully so.
    On the bright side, professors and other hosts can protect their meetings by adding a password. It is encouraged that hosts do not share passwords on social media to ensure security. They should only be shared with the people who are supposed to be attending their meetings. Taking these precautionary steps is very critical. This helps keep Zoombombers out of their meeting and act disruptively. Another feature is that hosts can verify and allow participants to come into the room making it safe because if something seems off or unfamiliar they can dismiss it. I believe everyone should be considerate and keep a lookout for suspicious activity like this to ensure everyone is kept safe.

  18. After reading this article, I was left with many questions. The article briefly mentions what is occurring during a Zoombombing, but it does not mention many other things, such as how many cases of Zoombombing have been reported. Another thing not mentioned in the article that I am curious about is if any of the Zoombombers have been caught, and what they are being charged with.
    In my opinion, I think that it is sad that there are people doing this. People are using Zoom to either teach, learn, or have a meeting, and do not want to be bothered or worried about a Zoombombing occurring. I use Zoom for some of my school classes, and after hearing about the incidents, I am nervous for one to occur during one of my classes. Students pay a lot of money for these classes, and do not want to be disrupted because of a Zoombombing. It is also disrespectful to professors that are teaching. An incident like this can also be damaging to young students that have not experienced anything like it before.
    This incident has definitely lead to the company losing business, as many professors are changing virtual conference platforms. Some of my professors have switched over to Canvas Conference to avoid potential Zoombombings. These platforms work just as well, and professors do not have to worry about Zoombombings occurring.
    I think that it will be very interesting to see if Zoombombings will stop, now that many people have heard about the incidents and know that it is considered a crime. Meetings are also now being password-protected, which will hopefully stop this issue from occurring.

  19. I don’t think many people are understanding the seriousness of zoom bombing. Many people take it as a joke, a prank but it is actually a crime. Zoom needs to come up with a better protection programming that can avoid this. However, it is not fully Zoom’s fault because they have offered putting in a password but students are sharing it thinking it is a joke. These pranksters are not only offending the professors but also the students and most importantly they are wasting our time that we paid for. They are displaying offensive terms, using profanity, and displaying pornographic images which for older students isn’t that bad since they are a little more understanding of what is going on, but what about the younger students, elementary school students? I personally experienced this, this week and I found it absolutely absurd and immature. It was a conference call for a presentation hosted by one of my university’s staff member and you had to request to get the conference id and password. And it was still able to get hacked. That is when I came to the conclusion that clearly a student had to request for that information and shared it with their friends or someone they knew. The person doing the presentation had to start over again since she wanted to record it and post it on our handshake website. That little show that they caused wasted a good extra thirty minutes. This pandemic is changing everything that is going on and now with all this free time, people need to find better use of their time. People need to take this more seriously and show some respect.

  20. I understand why Zoombooming is considered to be a crime, however, I believe that certain conditions must apply. The examples provided here are objectively disturbing and unpleasant for all the involved in the least. Displaying pornography or committing hate crimes after infiltrating in a Zoom call without permission are, hands-down, examples of crimes. I, however, have some doubts. NELK is a group of content creators who post vlogs and prank videos on YouTube. The NELK YouTube channel, with more than 4 million subscribers, posted two videos last week in which they zoomboomed college video conferences. They, however, did not hack the system to infiltrate them; instead, they asked their fans to share the zoom call ID number for their online classes. After entering the virtual conference rooms, they proceeded to perform fictitious scenes with the purpose of being comedic. Although all the instructors present in the calls were disgusted with such uncomfortable situations, many of the students, of which many knew what was happening, seemed to go along with the prank. In this case, would the pranker and the students involved with the prank pay the price? I would assume that yes, since the students involved would be accomplices of the crime, but besides being misdemeanors committed by college students who didn’t know about the possible consequences, would this case be enough of a deal to address? Is it worth it to focus on cases like this one with a pandemic in progress out there? I believe that crimes such as the ones mentioned in the text should definitely be prosecuted and given priority, but not all resources should be used to address all zoomboomings if the seriousness of the case does not warrant it.

  21. I personally have never experienced “Zoom Bombing” while using zoom for my online classes or for personal usage, but I am very aware that this is happening fairly often. I have fellow classmates who have experienced Zoom bombing within their online class meetings which caused a lot of disruption and even forced the professor to cancel the meeting altogether. At first I believed it to just be harmless pranks among college students but now I know that it has grown much worse than that in a short period of time. These zoom bombers are apparently showing very inappropriate content and shouting inappropriate, explicit and racial language during the meetings. What makes this worse is that now underage school children are being exposed to this which is a huge issue. Some may think that considering Zoom bombing a crime is a little extreme but this has become a serious issue and I believe that it should be treated as a crime. I just wonder how exactly authorities are going to catch these zoom bombers when they can join and leave a live zoom session quick enough before being caught. A lot of these zoom accounts are probably fake and do not contain the person’s true identity or information. The only way I could think they will catch a zoom bomber is either through their IP Address or if an authority is “hiding” within the live session when the hacker decides to join. Hopefully this will all come to an end soon as all online class meetings and work is already stressful enough without these zoom bombers interfering.

  22. COVID-19 has managed to completely change the way that people live their lives. With the internet taking over as our most vital resource, online shopping for everything we need, working from home, and educating from home have all become the new way of life. With social distancing in effect, the internet has become the only way for businesses, government officials, and educators to communicate. Zoom, a video conferencing platform, has taken the internet by storm and has been one of the more popular services used for communication during the pandemic.

    Unfortunately, the ease of use and accessibility of Zoom, has made it a recent hotspot for hackers. Zoombombing is the term used for these uninvited disruptions to Zoom conference calls. Zoombombing has particularly caused a scene in the education department. “Hackers are disrupting conferences and online classrooms with pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” said the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. He also mentioned, “Anyone who hacks into a teleconference can be charged with state or federal crimes.” It is reassuring to see how seriously this issue is being taken. Although, Zoombombing may be amusing to some, it hinders the ability for faculty and students to perform their responsibilities properly in an already compromised situation.

    Zoom, like many other services, is password protected. However, passwords are quickly turning into nothing but a small bump in the road that hackers need to avoid on their journeys of illegal activity. All aspects of life manage to adapt in times of extreme change, even crime. Internet based crime is not anything new by any means but I believe that instances similar to Zoombombing, will continue to occur over this period of quarantine.

  23. As someone who has not personally used Zoom yet, I was not aware that “zoombombing” was an actual issue. Zoombombing is when hackers join meetings that they are not invited to, similarly to that movie “Unfriended” but without the violence. Prosecutors are now warning hackers that “zoombombing’ is considered a crime and are taking a hard stance against it, arguing that it cannot be taken lightly as a funny prank.

    There have been times that I have used the Skype app and random people have joined my calls and it forced my group to hang up and try the call again. I agree with prosecutors taking a hard stance against “zoombombing” because it is a total invasion of privacy since hackers could see where you live and who you are friends/family with. Most importantly, why are hackers interested in random people’s Zoom meetings? Is quarantine making people so bored that instead of doing something productive, they decide to crash a random Zoom meeting?

    Furthermore, it is a risk to people’s safety because the motive to hack these Zoom meetings is unknown. According to the article, some “zoombombers” are even hacking Zoom meetings with children and shouting racial slurs and exposing themselves. While some people are crashing these meetings out of boredom with no malicious intent, others are doing actual harm especially when children are involved in these meetings. Unfortunately with the advancement of communication technology, comes the criminals who are advancing with it.

  24. Some of the funniest (guilty pleasure?) videos on the internet since quarantine started have been people saying egregious things during class or, worse, “Zoombombing” them. To me, this is the same thing as bombing a Kahoot and it is an obvious flaw in these software that only require a short code to log onto a group call. I do not like that these programs, often used by schools, are so accessible to people who have no business being able to access them. In my social media experience, I commonly find comments on posts (via apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and iFunny) which say something along the lines of “Kahoot is 34F57F, you know what to do” and dozens of people who should have no access in the first place can join in seconds. Honestly, I used to do this in high school whenever I would walk down the halls and see a Kahoot code, and they would never find who did it. This goes to my next point, how can we hold these people accountable if no one can catch their name or face on the Zoom? This article I found from howstuffworks, https://computer.howstuffworks.com/zoom-bombing.htm, beautifully lays out the inherit flaws with Zoom which (frankly) only affect people who do not know how to manage a Zoom meeting and have only been exposed because of the recent and exponential growth in user-base caused by Covid-19. Interrupting Zoom calls is relatively harmless until it is used as an avenue for transmitting hate speech and vulgarities, sadly ruining a good thing (Zoom calls, not interrupting them).
    How do we catch the recently-born boogeymen of Zoom? It seems hard to do, and after some research I do not have an answer. What I can say is that there needs to be a way to report users to Zoom for review. What I will say is that I am more of a Microsoft Teams person.

  25. Zoombombing is an annoying sometimes disturbing inevitability that comes with transferring to an online workspace and classroom. Already, there are hundreds of viral videos across the internet of people zoombombing calls and I worry that people are beginning to take such actions lightly. This crisis has shaken everyone’s life up and the last thing the world needs is for people to be interrupting classes, work meetings, or even just casual gatherings. I think it is fair that people are being charged with computer crimes and other charges like breach of peace. People are taking advantage of an unfortunate situation to create content for their internet personas which is completely twisted. I think many people feel that most of these calls are just a harmless prank, but they fail to see the principle that these people are violating. If someone were to walk into a regular classroom setting and disrupt the flow of class people would be incredibly irritated and upset. Especially when so many people are going into debt to pay for their college education, things like zoombombing are just incredibly unprofessional and disrespectful. Unfortunately, I do not see this issue stopping in the future as in most cases people will never really be prosecuted for this. I think the only way that law enforcement will pursue these cases is if the videos of the bombs are posted online or someone does something truly awful on a call that warrants further investigation. I have not been in a call that was necessarily zoombombed; however, I have been in classes where students will say ridiculous things with their camera off to confuse professors who are not familiar with the software they are using. Some people found it amusing and some people were incredibly upset as this situation is not easy for anyone. I do however think this is somewhat of a preventable issue because the hosts of a meeting can use multiple functions to keep the session private. Primarily, I think professors need to utilize the waiting room function so they can control who comes into the session. Secondly, I think students need to understand that they need to keep the class codes private.

  26. Zoom bombing. A term that has become more and more relevant as time goes on since many universities has transitioned their classes from in-person to remote learning. Zoom bombing is when random users (or users who are not supposed to be in that specific class) intrude a zoom class and disrupt the class by trolling the professor or other students. Now the question is whether zoom bombing is considered a crime or is it just a prank. Zoom bombing itself is obviously unauthorized intrusion so charges can fall under “disrupting a public meeting and computer intrusion” among others. I personally believe zoom bombing does fall under these charges but I don’t think zoom bombing crimes are going to be enforced (unless really serious offences are made such as showing pornography, making death threats etc).
    Connecting this article/blog post with that of ‘COVID-19 Has Thrust Universities Into Online Learning?—How Should They Adapt?’ article, zoom bombing can be hard on those who are having trouble adapting to remote learning; professors who are not familiar with technology will have to navigate zoom settings and find a way to make the class private as to avoid having future zoom intrusions by strangers. Yes, zoom bombing is intrusive and may be considered a crime, but it is something that is really easy to avoid given that one will only have to tweak the settings a bit to make the class private and avoid being bombed and therefore should not classify as a crime unless serious offences are committed along with zoom bombing.
    Zoom bombing has never occurred in any of my classes before, the chances of being zoom bombed occurring to me is still low considering I only have one class which utilizes zoom. On the other hand, I rather not have my classes interrupted since this will only affect my grade if the lecture is cancelled or valuable time is lost as a result of being zoom bombed. Obviously, this isn’t an issue for those who commit the prank/crime, but it is for those who are paying money to attend class and are striving for a degree. Most importantly, it could negatively affect those who still have trouble adapting to remote learning. With that being said, I believe zoom bombing should be discouraged but it shouldn’t classify as a crime because it is something that is easy to avoid with a change in the

  27. This is the first time I have heard of “ZoomBombing”. I didn’t realize this was an issue and the only ZoomBombings I have witnessed were on Kahoot, so I guess it was Kahootbombings(?). Anyway, as I have not seen this issue in any of my classes, I don’t think it to be too big of an issue. Of course, if you disrupt a class with pornographic images, racial slurs or hate speech, you should be penalized or fined for it, as those actions should not be tolerated in any circumstances. As to my Business law class, I don’t see anyone getting in our Zoom meetings who shouldn’t and if they did, they would probably receive some negative energy from professor Shannon.
    Now that the world is in an emergency state, many of the meetings have transferred into the internet. As we are not able to have online private conversations as private as we would in person, we have to try and find some solution. Breaking into a zoom meeting and getting arrested for it must’ve sounded like a joke a few years back, but now we must try and keep the internet clean and somewhat private. Now that meetings and classes are online, is interrupting a class online as punishable as interrupting a class in person? I remember some jokesters interrupting my classes in the past, but they were not arrested for it, they just received some schooling. I guess the offense depends on how and who you interrupt. If you interrupt some politician’s important meeting with some porno, you probably face consequences. If you just hack yourself into a class to educate yourself, I don’t see a reason why you should be arrested for it. If your ZoomBombing is harmless and doesn’t offend anyone, you should stay as a free man. Especially in times like these, if your zoomBombing can boost the morale of you or someone else, I think it should go without a penalty, as long as no one is harmed or offended by it. We need some laughs and positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  28. Zoom has become the new means of all types of communication. Whether it is business, friend, or family related, it has proven itself to be the best and most effective digital platform for maintaining communication. Before reading this article, I was completely unaware of this “Zoomboming” problem. I use Zoom every single day, especially for school-related things, and am blessed to not have experienced any form of this. Frankly, it is scary to think that hacking into private video chats are that easy for a hacker to do. I completely agree that this zoombombing should be labeled a criminal offense and require that the hacker face some sort of consequences depending on the severity of the case.

    Disrupting private meetings is definitely a crime, but there should be certain levels to the charges. For instance, a hacker coming into a meeting and disrupting by making a harmless joke should have a much different outcome than someone coming in saying a racial slur. Although both are unacceptable, the severity of these cyber crimes are totally different.

    Zoom is an essential tool in coping with the abrupt transition into online learning. It is already difficult as it is as the entire world is struggling with it, and it is upsetting to think that people are finding joy in making life that much worse. It seems as though people are getting bored and cannot find anything better to do, so they decide to entertain themselves in this unnecessary way. People are doing what they can, and making things harder will only leave a worse effect on the world after the pandemic is over. My hope is that Zoom finds a way to combat this problem quickly because online learning has proven itself as something that will be here for a long time until everything is completely cleared up.

  29. The Ars-Technica article, “Zoom Bombing is a crime, not a prank, prosecutors warn”, by Timothy Lee is interesting because people are willing to go out of their way to “troll”, when others are just trying to get an education. I have personally not witnessed any “zoombombing” while online learning. Every student in my online classes has been awfully quiet and the professor lectures 90% of the time. Lee begins the article by stating that trolls are disrupting zoom meetings, “Internet trolls and other troublemakers have responded with “Zoombombing”: joining Zoom meetings uninvited and disrupting them. Zoombombers have exposed themselves to schoolchildren and shouted racial slurs”. It doesn’t make sense to me that someone is willing to lose their reputation over trolling a zoom meeting. A person who exposes themselves to schoolchildren and shouts racial slurs are most likely going to be identified. Making sure you never get a job by “trolling” a professor is not a smart decision. Also, no one benefits from zoombombing. Students in these zoom meetings are just trying to learn after being forced into online learning. For these trolls, the only benefit could be going “viral” and honestly going viral for one day is not worth never getting a job.

    Lee continues the article by describing the charges these trolls could receive, “Possible charges include “disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications,” the prosecutors warn. All of these charges come with the potential for fines and jail time, the authorities say”. As stated before, there is absolutely zero justification for ruining your life by doing this. These charges listed are very serious and would prevent any person from being successful in the future. Lee also says “some Zoom meetings are advertised publicly, which might make it hard to make a computer intrusion charge stick. But someone could still be prosecuted for things they said or did to disrupt the meeting after joining it”. I think this article is blowing the situation out of proportion. I have seen a few examples of these meetings interrupted, but for the most part I believe the majority are facing zero interruptions. Prosecutors do not want to see this escalate, therefore are warning the public about the risks they face by “zoombombing”.

  30. This the first time I am hearing of the term “Zoombombers” before. It seems as though the trolls of the internet has found a new platform to troll people on. Personally, I have not experienced any ‘Zoombombing” so far since classes have started to take place online and as bad as it sounds, I am eager for a “zoombomber” to come into my class and troll. Maybe, it could be the extra spice the professor needs to get our attention and make the class a tad bit interesting. Although I understand that “Zoombombers have exposed themselves to schoolchildren and shouted racial slurs,” so if that ever happened, my eagerness would just turn into anger. Personally, I think harmful trolling like playing a funny song by the “zoombombers” could be a comic relief that could be useful in such serious times, but like many things, people just go too far! So far that “In a Friday statement, federal prosecutors in Michigan warned the public that Zoombombing isn’t a harmless prank; it’s a crime.” The article further mentions that, “disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications.”
    When I first started reading the article as much as I thought it would be a harmful prank that is being done when these trolls are crashing these meetings, what never came to my attention was the people who are going too far and actually breaking the law. Maybe these people think that doing this on zoom meetings are protecting them from being caught because no one can “call the cops” on someone online but the article, in fact, stated that, “If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door.” What the troll’s must-have forgot is that everything you put on the internet DOES NOT GO AWAY, which is why they are getting caught now!

  31. “Zoombombing” is stupid. Stupidity should be painful and it often is. There are two opinions of mine that should explain my stance on this whole situation. I agree that zoombombing should be punished in some way because education is important. Sure some people might find it funny, and sure it is funny sometimes, but the fact is that, especially in college, people are paying for this education and being interrupted by some random guy making lewd jokes is not learning. Well, I guess you could be learning that some people just are idiots. This time has been tough and boring on all of us, but seriously don’t take out your boredom on someone else. Yes, this includes breaking social distancing. I have been sitting in my house for weeks, barely leaving, and practicing social distancing very well. I have not seen any of my friends in over a month, and it really pisses me off when I see people hanging out with their friends. The reason I bring this up is that both activities may be fun for the person doing them but literally everyone else is worse for it. Pranks can be funny; being rude is not funny. Sure some pranks can be seen as rude, but in order for pranks to be pranks, both parties need to come to the realization that it was a prank. Zoombombing is not a prank its a stupid trend that needs to die soon before I get really mad and start arguing with people on Twitter. I hate arguing with people on Twitter, do not make me do this Zoombombers. Oh and the police will be at your door so that should be more of an incentive to knock it off.

  32. Zoombombing has become a very popular trend among people in America. Many youtubers and other social media stars, hop into random zoom calls and record their interactions. A YouTube channel very popular among kids in college today, is called “Nelk.” The stars of this channel like to crash zoom classes specifically. They will enter a class without any regard for those actually taking the class. The “Nelk” boys can be found smoking on calls, screaming profanity, and just messing with the people they hack. While alot of the pranks they pull, are not mean in nature and are actually kind of funny, it sets a terrible precedent. They have over a million subscribers on youtube, and they are essentially glorifying piracy. The joke is better to them, when they noticably rattle and disturb those that that they prank. KIds all over the world have access to these videos and want to replicate them. The “Nelk” boys are professional content creators who have at least some sort of filter. There are a lot of sickos out there who don’t know what is to far. There needs to be some way people can be held accountable for the actions they take over zoom. If someone crashed a class in person and did anything profane, they would be punished accordingly. I think the same needs to stand for Zoom calls. A sense of order over the internet would be a huge step in the right direction for a country that is trending more and more online.

  33. You know I always wondered why whenever we had to join a Zoom class there was always a waiting room, personally I thought the waiting room was a waste of time. I just want to show up and get in the zoom call to start class, but the waiting room is just annoying. Especially if you show up late and I know what you are thinking; why would you show up late to an online class when during this time all we have to do is stay indoors we literally have nothing else to do. But life still happens when you are indoors maybe you overslept maybe you had an unexpected bathroom emergency or your getting in trouble with your parents for something you did but bottom line life still happens even when you are locked inside your house. Now I kind of understand the reason for the waiting room because if the professor is able to verify students before they join then they can make sure that only their students are the ones present in the class. However personally I think that this is how every perfectly great prank gets ruined, I do not care what people think but if someone were to just join you zoom class who was not a part of the class I think that would be hilarious it is all fun and games but the problem comes when you have a specific set of people who want to take a perfectly good prank and turn it into nonsense. I do not understand why people think it would be funny to join a call and then promote hate speech and pornography like honestly what are you doing with yourself at that point. There really is no need for that you can just keep the prank simple and just join the call and do some harmless pranking, mess around a little bit but all in good fun. Now you have prosecutors saying that it is a crime to join zoom calls you should not be in. That is like someone telling you that photo bombing is a crime now, but I do understand it is because of the content that the people who are zoom bombing are promoting. Dang we live in such a goofy world with goofy people who just need to think before they act now, I understand the dumb as a box of rocks category.

  34. While many schools all across the world have turned to the online video platform Zoom to conduct their studies, another problem has come upon us. With the security of Zoom being very limited, many unauthorized members have come in possession with these private links and have taken this opportunity to join random online lectures and proceeded by using very explicit, inappropriate language that has been a common disruption. This new way of learning has become subject to many pranks across the internet which has brought a plentiful amount of attention to famous pranksters. Do these actions realistically deserve harsh legal penalties? Many people have termed this action “Zoombombing” which hold roots to photobombing, or the unwanted appearance in a picture. In a statement, federal prosecutors in Michigan have warned the public that Zoombombing isn’t a harmless prank, it’s considered a crime. Anyone who hacks into these communication group platforms may be subject to these federal charges, even if it is a harmless matter. Prosecutors warn that these people may be also subject to ‘hate crimes’ in the event of people saying hateful comments or displaying illegal content for others to see. I believe this can be solved with Zoom adding some restrictions and updates. If an individual is mandated to provide more personal information before entering the chat, this will make it easier to find the person committing these crimes. The current minimal security gives these people the opportunity to join the class without being on the class list, and most of the time using a false identity. I did not find this issue that serious at the beginning but it has become a common trend for many classes to be subject to this disruption. Giving students different codes to enter these chats will also provide teachers with the ability to find out who shared their class link. These prankers get in contact with the class through friends in the class and holding your students accountable is a easier way to find out who it is and bring him to these charges. Although these actions are disruptive, I don’t believe they are that serious to bring to authorities. These students are doing it for fun but there should definitely be a legal remedy for people who present illegal photographs or activities to these meetings.

  35. The recent phenomenon known as “zoombombing” is honestly something that a lot of students could’ve seen coming that professors obviously did not. When looking at how the new generation works, there is a trend in which many tend to not take many things with any seriousness at all. I won’t sit and act like I am not a part of that demographic (in most cases I am), and thus many things are taken as jokes, even the current state of national emergency and worldwide pandemic. For many, the zoom meeting we partake in to continue our education is merely a huge joke; students are much more technologically adept than most of our professors, which allows them to be tricked and exploited in the ways we have currently seen. Things like this aren’t new by any means, many students will have heard of YouTube creators NELK, or the Nelk Boys, who are notorious for entering college lectures and lighting joints or other methods of smoking marijuana during these lectures, oftentimes to the extreme displeasure of the students in said lecture, and almost always at the dismay of the professor. Content like this is extremely popular, and although there is a certain comedic value here, I feel as though the disruption of class in this way should easily constitute some sort of fine or arrest for disturbance. While “zoombombs” are much newer in terms of their popularity and occurrences, content and behavior like this are rampant throughout many media platforms, and is not something that will be going away soon. I agree with the stance of local authorities on this matter, however, since during such unprecedented and trying times, it is important to ensure the sanctity of our college and public school classes.

  36. When I first heard of “Zoombombing,” it seemed like a harmless prank celebrities and friends of college students were doing to have a little fun during these troubling times. But with any trend these days, there are the people who take it to the next level. Exposing yourself, screaming profanity, or doing drugs on a classroom Zoom call is just plain disrespectful and wrong. I am very glad to hear that federal prosecutors in Michigan are taking this seriously and warning potential harmful “Zoombombers” of the consequences of their actions. In Michigan, possible charges can include, “disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications,” which can all come with fines or jail time. In a world where internet privacy is stressed, the action of Michigan are quite reassuring.
    It seems like there are multiple ways Zoom users can prevent being hacked or bombed. Zoom has a feature that lets the host set up a waiting room and people attempting to join must be let in by the host. This way, the host will see the name of people joining before letting them in. This would prevent hackers from obtaining the link or Zoom ID and just joining on their own. Also, Ars Technica security reporter, Dan Goodin says that Zoom meetings can be password protected and “advised against announcing login information on social media or other public channels.” I think that last part is key as that is most likely the way that these “Zoombombers” are getting the necessary information to invade the meetings. In the case of YouTube stars bombing Zoom calls, their fans may be posting the meeting information on social media and tagging the stars. Professors and teachers across the country should inform their students about the dangers of “Zoombombing” and make sure their students aren’t giving the information to any potential bombers. This is a serious privacy issue and I’m glad that states are starting to recognize it and take it seriously.

  37. Me and everyone else in the world has noticed how popular zoom has become in the last two months, what was a small video chatting app is now being used in public schools and universities all over the world, I feel the reason zoom has gotten so popular is mainly because how its free and very easy to use, it allows teachers to have all there students available via an online classroom, teachers and students can easily share there screen and allow the rest of the class to see what there looking at. There has been some negative effects of Zoom as the term “Zoombombing” has begin to gain popularity on social media and Youtube, “Zoombombing” refers to someone joining a Zoom class session they were not invited to and causing some kind of disruption, I first saw this on social media , with videos of confused teachers trying to kick out some idiot looking for attention, but then I noticed a lot more doing this and even a popular Youtube channel called NELK known for doing crazy stunts and pranks, had made a few compilation videos of them “Zoombombing” various class sessions that there fans had sent them the entry link to, like most of NELKs videos these got over millions of views. In this article federal prosecutor’s point out that “Zoombombing” is more then just a prank and the offender could be charged with state or federal crimes, these possible charges could include “disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications,” this would clearly depend on what the offender actually did in the Zoom meetings, but I feel this raises a bigger question, how could such large growing company like Zoom have what seems to be such bad security? I feel it can be hard for Zoom to monitor issues like this mainly because it cannot tell who is a student of not, it is up to the teacher to make sure there class sessions cannot be joined by just anyone and they should closely monitor who they are allowing to join there online class session, with that said the idiots who “Zoombomb” are definitely in the wrong.

  38. This article caught my eye because of our current situation. The coronavirus pandemic has put all Universities online, classes are using platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom to complete the remainder of the course. Many of my classes use Microsoft Teams, but our class uses Zoom which I believe is the better platform of the two. Our class has gone very well using zoom, and I have realized that is not the case for everyone. Zoom has been attracting people to the class that have no business being there. These people are doing what is called “Zoombombing” and this is what this article talks about. These people have taken advantage of Zoom’s weak security and hacking into the classes and doing unacceptable actions. People have done things like exposing themselves and shouting racial slurs. I agree with the attorney Matthew Schneider, these actions are not pranks they are crimes. These “zoombombers” should be punished accordingly. Every state should take the approach that Michigan has taken in order to protect zoom users. If someone where to go outside, in public and expose themselves or shout racial slurs what would happen? They would be arrested and charged with crimes. This should not be treated any different because it is virtually now, as a matter fact the case could be made that it this is worse. Professors and students are already dealing with the difficulty of conducting class online, this only makes matters more difficult. One tip that security reporter Dan Goodin gives to us Zoom users for protections is not to announce login information on social media or other public channels, many people have not followed this. People obtaining a calls meeting ID on many public channels. This is because people have been giving out their classes meeting ID. On social media, you can find many people posting there meeting IDs or asking to join someone’s zoom meeting. This is clearly not okay, you do not know how many people will see the ID and join the class. You also do not know who they are or what they want to do . Many people say that they want to see what a college Zoom class is like, but that does not mean you should give them your class login. If this was on campus, would anyone just be allowed to walk into your classroom and act like a student? I highly doubt it, therefore you should not enable it in person.

  39. Zoombombing has certainly been interesting. I’m not going to lie, some of these are quite funny. But, just like any act with this sort of humor, it’s going to leave a sour taste in the mouths of many, and also disrupt important classes and events that are taking place. I’m by no means defending it — but one thing needs to be said; from the zoombombs that I’ve seen, they occur and are able to happen because of the inexperience of the person holding the zoom meeting.

    I’ve actually got to give it to Professor Shannon — he has already taken measures against these types of events. For example, simply checking the option where you must submit your name / be accepted into the meeting beforehand is a strong preventative against zoombombing. If you watch any videos of this attack, many times, the culprit will have this absolutely absurd username. This alone would give it away to many. It also seems to me, that many teachers or facilitators simply do not know how to mute or kick someone from the call. I’ve seen firsthand that Professor Shannon knows how to do these things.

    So, who’s fault is it? Is it the meeting holder’s fault? Is it the zoombomber’s fault? Well, I think it’s a combination of both, actually. While sometimes funny, the zoombomber is cheapening the experience of those in the classroom. On the other hand, the teacher’s inability to properly adapt and control the environment is a factor as to why this is such a huge issue. As for these people actually getting in trouble and getting arrested / facing charges? I honestly…. doubt it. The majority of online trolls are able to get away with WAY worse, including swatting, website deformation, and other acts among those. I certainly don’t think our government should be allocating too much time to an issue such as this one.

  40. I personally have never thought of interrupting another class because it is rude to cause disruptions and with the possible repercussions. The professors should have known about this and should have taken precautions prior to this issue. Due to the schools and professors negligence, Zoombombing was occurring as a prank and even as a possible threat to the students and professors safety. Professors should have thought this through before joining Zoom. It should be their own responsibility to take the necessary precautions and become educated on the possible risks of using a video chat with students and other professors. Though as people tend to get older and technology advances, it is difficult to keep up with all of the new technology coming out. Schools should have informed all of the professors what was going to happen in the upcoming weeks and have them begin to look into Zoom; Specifically for schools that had spring break and an extra week to transfer classes online. Professors should have done research and or had a meeting on Zoom with the I.T. department that would explain all of the precautions that they can put into place so Zoombombing would never happen in the first place.
    Some students began to struggle in their new environment, this could be because of quarantine and their family was constantly making noise, which made focusing on classes more difficult. However other students decided to not take classes seriously because of their new learning environment that they would be working in for the remainder of the semester. On an application named TikTok, people have filmed videos of themselves taking part in illegal drugs and underage drinking, while, on Zoom, in class. Students need to take classes seriously no matter the environment because this will reflect on their grades and later on in their work life. Students who graduated and did not take classes serious at home who managed to skate by and get a job could have put themselves into a very bad position. If the job requires the graduated students to work from home a few days out of the week. Some graduates, like in class, will not take it seriously and get nothing done. This could result in a loss of their job and would show they do not know how to manage their time or themselves correctly. This experience that students were forced to do classes from home may have impacted their social life but gave them a chance to display and work on their adaptation skills.

  41. Currently, students and employees have been relying on conference platforms to continue daily activities remotely in the wake of the coronavirus. As a college student, the transformation process and the adjusting process was a breeze. I had taken online classes prior but none of them had required an online conference. Even with that differentiation, there was no difficulty or stress surrounding it. My professors conducted classes in a regular fashion for multiple sessions, where students would join the conference through a link provided by the professor. One class, I went to go about by usual way of logging into the Zoom class. Instead, I, as well as the entire class, was prompted to wait in a waiting room while our professor allowed us into the conference. As the class initiated, she went on the discuss the “Zoombombing” instances and that from then on, she would allow us into the conference after confirming who is requesting to join. I thought it was a bit overreactive as I immediately thought it was a low-level hacker joining and disrupting classes through random questions and sounds. However, college students and industry professionals are not the only one utilizing Zoom to conduct their daily activities. Many public schools with students from ages 5-18 are using zoom to proceed with education. In that scenario a “zoombombing” incident would be highly inappropriate and expose children to harsh realities at an unnecessary time. Children should be able to conduct their remote learning without the threat of such imbeciles disrupting and potentially tainting their education and minds. I am glad to see the Michigan prosecutors taking initiative and ensuring this is a form of a crime, and can be prosecuted as a hate crime, fraud, and computer intrusion. In a time when we are relying so heavily on technology, it is assuring to know that law enforcement and prosecutors deeply understand how vulnerable and susceptible we all are to heinous intrusions. Moving forward, I believe conference platforms of all kind will take additional steps to provide increased security measures to eliminate any and all possible threats. This may prove necessary as we all are unsure as to how long the pandemic will continue to alter our lives and how we conduct education and business.

  42. I have not been in a class where a zoom bombing has occurred but I have friends who have been in class and someone intrudes the lecture, throwing off the professor. I have also seen fans who have encouraged celebrities to crash their zoom class, bringing a comedic value to the class. While some instances can be harmless, it is still disrespectful to the professor trying to teach. I think it also shows how that even when we’re not in person, people still manage to spread hate, through racial slurs on zoom or hate speech. These individuals need to be held accountable and need to face the consequences. There are some things the article mentions to avoid these occurrences, such as enabling a waiting room upon entry, a password-protected room, or announcing zoom sessions or login information on social media. It is important to establish security measures to zoom to prevent these instances from happening, as zoom is normalizing into some of our daily lives. As this becomes somewhat of a “new normal” there need to be preventive measures taken on zoom, just like they would in person.

  43. Zoom has become an increasingly popular software for many users during the coronavirus pandemic. It is a premier video-conferencing software that has helped many businesses, government officials, and schools hold virtual conferences over while keeping socially distant during this difficult time. However, while Zoom has filled the essential need for virtual meetings and conferences even better than such rivals like: Skype and Facebook Messenger, it is not without its flaws. According to ArsTechnica.com, under the article: “Zoombombing is a crime, not a prank prosecutors warn,” a new criminal offense has been born from the use of Zoom: “…with ‘Zoombombing’: joining Zoom meetings and uninvited and disrupting them.” Zoombombers are similar to the stereotypical class clowns in regular school environments who often call out and disrupt the teacher during their lecture with their own antics. However, Zoombombers have taken their shenanigans a step further, according to ArsTechnica.com’s article of “Zoombombing is a crime, not a prank prosecutors warn,” by: “…having exposed themselves to schoolchildren and shouted racial slurs”. These actions have been taken into account by federal prosecutors and litigator in America with most vowing to press criminal charges against offenders if caught. As excerpted from ArsTechnica.com’s article of “Zoombombing is a crime, not a prank prosecutors warn”, the potential charges for the offense are: “‘…disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or threatening communications’…All of these charges with potential fines and jail time, the authorities say”. While Zoombombing should be taken seriously as a crime because it exposes cyber security flaws in current online technology necessary for people to communicate with each other, it is not only the fault of Zoombombers that should be held responsible for the crime, but the cyber security of Zoom itself that should also be called into question such as both: the amount of incidents associated with the lack of proper response on Zoom’s part and the primitive state of the law in regards to the function of video conferencing software and the rights of corporations are to be considered.

    One of the main reasons as to why Zoom’s cyber security risks should be factored into the prosecution of Zoombombing is due to the various amounts of incidents associated with Zoom and the lack of a proper response on part of the company in implementing new controls to fix the problem at hand. Without proper logical security controls, or proper cyber security controls, in place Zoombombers have more access to private meetings and conferences that only a privileged few have access to. As such, many incidents have occurred as a result of a lack of proper computer safety controls for Zoom’s software. An example of one of these incidents comes from the National Public Radio.com article, “A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side – And An FBI Warning” which details how California State University student, Dennis Johnson, was defending his doctoral dissertation in a Zoom conference when Zoombombers rudely disrupted it. As excerpted from the aforementioned article on NPR.com, “…he was in the middle of presenting when someone started drawing male genitalia on the screen…The attacker also scrawled a racial slur that everyone on the Zoom call could see”. The National Public Radio, an American non-profit news outlet, explained that Dennis was horrified by the experience recalling that he couldn’t even accept the commemoration of the end of his dissertation. According to the NPR article, “A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side – And An FBI Warning”, “‘I couldn’t even communicate. I had to just walk out [of] my house…I didn’t want to talk or see anybody’”. Dennis Johnson’s incident with Zoombombers isn’t the only one to have happened in America. In fact, “‘The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language’” according to the NPR article “A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side – And An FBI Warning”. These incidents have been continuing to pile up on American soil with private conversations being intruded on by unwanted trespassers. The reason for these incidents boils down to the fact that Zoom is currently lacking in proper security controls despite, the easy-to-use interface. Zoom lacks proper end to end encryption on its servers meaning that connections between those who utilize Zoom for video conferencing are open to outside traffic from hackers. Zoom has confirmed that there is no end to end encryption for their software in the past, by admitting that: “Currently, it is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings,” as previously reported in the article “Zoom Meetings Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing” by the nonprofit news site, The Intercept.com. Furthermore, Zoom may also, utilize their lack of end-to-end encryption on video conferencing calls to collect data on their consumers similar to how the popular social media site Facebook used Cambridge Analytics to steal personal data from its customers without their consent. In fact, according to an article detailing the various wrongdoings of Zoom on the popular computer technology news network, Cnet.com, titled: “Zoom security issues: Zoom buys security company, aims for end-to-end encryption”, that before removal on March 27th 2020, there was: “An investigation by Motherboard which revealed that Zoom’s iOS app was sending user analytics data to Facebook, even for Zoom users who didn’t have a Facebook account, via the app’s interaction with Facebook’s Graph API”. With this data present on both the data mining and lack of cyber security controls in the utilization of Zoom software there is no denying a lack of complicity on the company’s part in the Zoombombing affair.

    The second main reason why Zoom’s cybersecurity risks should be factored into the persecution of Zoombombing is due to the law being in its early stages of development. Zoombombing has only recently been identified as a crime by federal and state authorities in America. According to the ArsTechnica.com, the premier information technology and science website, in the article, “Zoombombing is a crime, not a prank prosecutors warn”, the US Attorney’s Office for Eastern Michigan writes that: “‘Anyone who hacks into a teleconference can be charged with state and federal crimes”. This no doubt, displays the confidence of the authorities to prosecute anyone who is guilty of Zoombombing to the highest degree of the law. However, one must question what are the ground for prosecuting criminals for technological crimes using Zoom software. As previously mentioned before, in the ArsTechnica.com article, “Zoombombing is a crime, not a prank prosecutors warn”, “‘…disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or threatening communications’…All of these charges with potential fines and jail time, the authorities say”. These may be outlines of potential charges against the offenders, however, shouldn’t the authorities also prosecute those responsible for being complicit in the action. Whether directly or indirectly., Zoom has allowed these criminal actions to occur by nit securing their servers to be safe and secure for users to utilize without threat of outside hackers entering. In the National Public Radio article, “A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side – And An FBI Warning”, it is noted that Patrick Wardle, a security researcher who was previously employed at the National Security Agency, stated: “‘Things you would like to have in a chat and video application – strong encryption, strong privacy controls, strong security- just seem to be completely missing”. That is one of the key factors in identifying the level of complicity that Zoom has in the affair of Zoombombing. A lack of proper security controls has led to questions over whether the company is being diligent in keeping their users safe or if they are purposefully being negligent in their responsibilities. According to Lawfareblog.com, a blog site for speculation and discussion on new and current legal standards, in the article: “Prosecuting Zoom Bombing” it is stated that:
    “The federal CFAA and state computer-crime and disorderly conduct statues may afford bases for prosecuting Zoom-bombing of both password-protected and publicly accessible video conference meetings…For run-of-the-mill trolling in particular, company-end security measures and corresponding consumer-end adoption of security precautions have the potential to filter much disruption,”. In other words, while federal standards allow more egregious offenses of Zoom bombing to be prosecuted such as: racial slurs and use of child pornography, simpler measures such as adapting more computer security measures to prevent hackers should be implemented on the part of Zoom and its consumers to prevent these instances of Zoombombings. Consumers can easily fortify their Internet security through the use of antivirus software such as: Norton or McAfee, to keep their data secure from data mining websites that may install various forms of malware on their devices. Antivirus software primarily is able to keep consumers safe by filtering harmful external traffic of outside hackers out. Virtual personal networks are another form of computer security that allows users to access the internet without risk of the government or any corporation stealing personal data utilize for their own benefit like: advertisement monetization by large retailers such as Target and Walmart. Consumers can stay protected on their end with these easy to afford tools of Internet security. However, Zoom is more than capable of ensuring that their connections are safe and secure with the vast quantity of wealth and resources at their disposal to strengthen the privacy of their servers. It is confusing as to why the video-conferencing software has not updated their security with the various scandals surrounding the company at the moment. If Zoom doesn’t afford to clean up their act as a large technology startup based in one of the wealthiest, developed countries in the world, they should be persecuted under the law for playing an indirect role in allowing these Zoombombings to happen.

    In conclusion, while Zoombombings are not the direct fault of the company Zoom itself they do play a role in allowing these criminal acts to occur by not strengthening their computer security as a premier videoconfercing software that a large majority of the American public are using to communicate during this global pandemic. Zoom should be prosecuted for the indirect role they play in the act of Zoombombings because the law is still in its infancy and is subject to change to adjust to the mitigating factors of the lack of security that Zoom offers. The company Zoom should also, be prosecuted under the law duet to the large variety of incidents and scandals of both Zoombombing and other affairs of the like plaguing the company. The lack of a proper response to this has proven Zoom’s inadequacy it its scandals to act immediately upon consumer feedback and improve upon whatever flaws they may have. With many class action lawsuits and pending federal and state investigations into the matter, one can only hope that Zoom tries to change their position in the market for the better before their mistakes catch up with them.

    My Sources:

    -https://www.npr.org/2020/04/03/826129520/a-must-for-millions-zoom-has-a-dark-side-and-an-fbi-warning

    -https://www.lawfareblog.com/prosecuting-zoom-bombing

    -https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/04/zoombombing-is-a-crime-not-a-prank-prosecutors-warn/

    -https://www.cnet.com/news/zoom-security-issues-zoom-buys-security-company-aims-for-end-to-end-encryption/

    -https://theintercept.com/2020/03/31/zoom-meeting-encryption/

  44. In today’s world during the COVID-19 pandemic, many things have changed from our daily lives. We cannot go into the office to work; we cannot go into restaurants and we cannot even fly to our favorite travel destinations. But the biggest impact this pandemic has had on the United States is with education. The question is, how are we going to be able to teach our students without being face to face in the school. So, what most college universities had to adapt to our current society and to move online teaching. To teach online you have to use this video chatting service called Zoom. Zoom allows teachers and students to connect and to teach and learn as best as possible. Usually teachers send out a link or a code to join the class so the only people that could join the class are the students enrolled. Over the past a couple months, there has been something going on called Zoombombing. Zoombombing is when someone joins a zoom call and starts being very interruptive and possibly doing things illegal and very serious actions. The reason why people might do this is to get on social media. Students think it is all fun and games until someone gets in serious trouble with the law. In order to have someone join the class, someone from the inside has to give him the information to get in, which you can also get in trouble for. Schools and universities have been taking these Zoombombings very seriously with their zero-tolerance policy. Schools are putting in consequence’s for doing this action and even being removed from the school. After dealing with the school you will have to deal with the authorities as well. Remember that it is a crime. It might not seem like one, but it is. Schools like Rider has had Zoombombing happen to them which were reported and took the proper actions to make sure it does not happen again. Rider has recently put into use the need to use your Rider email to join the calls which helps to prevent Zoombombing and any other privacy issues. Teachers can also put passwords on the meeting along with your Rider ID and also when you join, the teacher can have the option to make a waiting room. This means when you join you get put into a waiting room then the teacher has to accept you into the meeting. I think that now that more and more people are using Zoom to learn and for working, and the Zoombombing is happening less and less because people are more focused at the task at hand.

  45. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom has been the main platform keeping everything going, including work meetings, school, and social gatherings. Everyone is currently relying on Zoom to make life seem somewhat normal. Unfortunately, Zoombombings occur very frequently where random people join a call, uninvited and disrupting them. According to the article, they typically shout racial slurs, use threatening language, or share pornographic and/or hate images. Although it is harmless, it is still considered a crime.
    I have personally been involved in a Zoombombing during one of my classes in the Spring 2020 semester. Three students that no one recognized joined our class and started saying weird things that some could not even understand. They then began shouting out random names of the students in our class until my professor ended the meeting. No one admitted to sharing the meeting ID, so we were not sure exactly how they joined. Although they did not use threatening words, it was still very disrupting and we had to report it. Following the incident, my professor started utilizing the waiting room to assure only students in the class were getting in. Since then, each professor has taken additional steps to improve the security of these Zoom meetings which I believe is very necessary.

  46. After the end of last semester and the first month of this semester done online, I can only imagine the number of Zoombombings that have occurred to people worldwide. With COVID pushing people to quarantine and all in-person events effectively canceled, the obvious choice would be to swap to an online platform for communication. Unfortunately, most people do not realize how unsecure their calls may be. People will crash Zoom calls for a multitude of reasons ranging from trying to gain a few laughs in a friend’s Zoom class to disrupting an event by shouting inappropriate comments. While both are problems in the way society is being run at this time, I do believe there are major differences that should be considered before we punish anyone. In the article, Lee uses quotes from the Michigan US attorney, Matthew Schneider, who says, “If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door.” This wording could be troublesome for a lot of people due to the gray areas that exist in the statement. Throughout the time Zoom has been the primary form of conversation, there have been hundreds of Zoom bombings. Do I believe that every one of them deserves law enforcement tracking them down? No, not at all. Unlike the wording of the prosecutors, I feel the severity of the punishment should be dictated by the severity of the action.

    Let’s picture a scenario. A class of high school sophomores is holding their class online. One of the students wants to liven up the class and prank the teacher so they decide to invite a friend who is not part of the class into the call. This friend then proceeds to raise their hand and answer the prompts using obviously incorrect answers and ask unrelated questions. Is this a waste of time for the class and the teacher? Yes. However, should the kid who bombed the call and the one who shared the password be charged in any way? No. There are obviously going to be multiple debates over who should be charged if enforcement will occur for every offense. Another situation would be if a group is hosting a private family gathering, no passwords are shared, but someone hacks into the call and starts shouting racial slurs and commit hate crimes. This, unlike the scenario with the students, is something that needs to be cracked down upon and enforced. People cannot and should not be able to hack into secure calls to perform these hate crimes. The world is already having a difficult time. The fact that any call can be potentially hacked into and hate speech can occur with no prevention only adds to the pile of current problems. I do believe that Schneider is correct in his belief that people who hack into Zoom calls should be punished. However, before implementing this rule in full, it should be effectively fleshed out to avoid these gray areas. I know it sounds like I am condoning some Zoombombings but this is not the case. I simply believe that sixteen-year-old kids trying to be funny with their friends is not something that should be punishable by law when actual hackers are committing hate crimes elsewhere.

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