Zoom Calls Are Getting Hijacked In Toronto & Spammed With Disturbing Videos
Police warn of people being "bombed" by explicit content.
If the adjustment to working from home and not seeing your friends and family wasn't enough, it now seems like "Zoom-bombing" is a thing? With everyone using Zoom nowadays, Toronto Police are warning the public that hacks are on the rise. In particular, there have been repeated instances of hateful or explicit content being forcibly shared in virtual meetings for all to see.
In an email to Narcity on Friday, May 15, TPS spokesperson Meaghan Gray shared that these so-called "Zoom-Bombing" incidents appear to be becoming more frequent.
They usually see meetings interrupted by hateful content, which is definitely not good news for Zoom users.
And the kind of content that is being forced upon people is horrendous.
"We have seen an increase in these types of occurrences. The meetings are usually hijacked by the streaming of hate-related content or child sexual abuse material," said Gray.
In fact, it's been an issue for some time now.
Late last month, Toronto Police even issued a news release about hacks affecting video chats and meetings, warning of "uninvited guests who share hate-related content or child sexual abuse material."
They also listed a few steps as to what you should do to make sure you are staying safe online.
TPS recommends that people who organize online meetings should be extra careful and make the ID private, creating a new one for each meeting they hold.
Password protection also helps and works if only given to attendees.
It is helpful to share this password only with known guests before the meeting. For extra security, attendees should be previewed in a virtual waiting room before they can join the session.
Police also recommend not permitting file transfers during the meeting and only allowing the host to stream video.
A Zoom statement emailed to Narcity said: "This incident is truly devastating and appalling, and our user policies explicitly prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal or violent activity or content on the platform. We are looking into this specific incident to ensure the appropriate action is taken."
The statement, as well as a timely email sent to Zoom users on Friday afternoon, notes that an updated version of the video hosting platform is now available, with added security measures through a new GCM encryption.
As for Toronto Police, they haven't put out any charges relating to "Zoom-bombing" but are aware of the recent incident that occurred during an online town hall meeting by Spadina-Fort York MPP Chis Glover on Zoom on May 14, according to Toronto.com.
The TPS child exploitation unit is investigating that incident due to the extreme explicit nature content.
So, if you're Zooming on a regular basis right now like we are, it's worth taking note.