Hacking into video chats to display child porn… PSU Police and FBI are investigating 6 cases of this at Penn State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ)– Last month, WTAJ reported on Zoom bombing where someone hacks into a Zoom call to steal information or disrupt a video chat with their own images.

This has been an issue at Penn State–with 26 cases of Zoom bombing report so far out of the University Park campus.

Now, PSU Police have released more information about the nature of some of these cases.

University Police said there are at least 6 cases where child pornography was shown, by hackers, on Penn State zoom calls. The FBI has gotten involved in an investigation to catch the Zoom bomber(s).

“To say that that’s a little disturbing is beyond the pale… it’s incomprehensible that someone would think this was appropriate to do. It’s serious criminal behavior and gonna be treated as such,” Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna told WTAJ Thursday.

Cantorna said the Zoom bombing child porn cases took place early-on in PSU’s process of shifting to online classes and meetings. He said at times, servers weren’t as secure and many weren’t using passwords to enter zoom meetings.

Currenlty, Cantorna feels overall security on Zoom calls is much better–and he remains confident that with the FBI involved in their child porn investigation–there’s only one fate for Zoom bombers.

“They will be found… there are department’s who’s only purpose is to track, monitor, and find individuals who are sharing things like child pornography online,” he said.

The FBI received more than 240 reports of child porn Zoom bombings across the nation since the middle of March.

Cantorna did not comment if one person or multiple people showed child porn on the PSU Zoom chats (this is an active investigation).

He did say whoever took part in the Zoom bombing will face up to seven years in prison, and $15,000 in fines… that’s not including child porn charges, which are far more severe.

“To put that kind of content out there electronically is a serious crime in itself just to possess… and then to display it,” Cantorna said before he paused to give a look of disgust.

He told WTAJ there have also been cases of Zoom bombing where PSU students hacked into video chats to post pictures or videos (not child porn) as a practical joke. But Cantorna said it’s no laughing matter.

“For the students who’ve Zoom bombed and left an obvious electronic trail, like posting their jokes on their own social media site… you’re gonna get suspended from school,” he said.

Cantorna hopes this serves as a deterrant, stopping PSU students from Zoom bombing in the future.

He told WTAJ the only reports of Zoom bombing to come across his desk thus far occurred on Penn State video calls.

In the child porn cases, Cantorna said search warrants have been sent out. Right now, they’re waiting on electronic companies to gather information to find out who, what, where, and when the hacking took place.

He said there is no exact timeline for when this information will be available to investigators.

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