STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) – With the new norm of working and communicating from home, “Zoom” and other video chat applications have seen a big spike in popularity.
But along with increased use, now more people are hacking into chats and disrupting meetings. It’s called “Zoom bombing”–disrupting a video chat through hacking.
Some may do it thinking it’s a practical joke, posting crude images. Others use it to collect private information.
In all cases, it’s illegal and something Centre County law enforcement is taking seriously.
“There isn’t any reason for it. It’s not funny, it’s not ok. And in fact, it’s a criminal offense,” stated Bernie Cantorna, Centre County District Attorney
“Zoom bombing” is a third degree felony according to Cantorna.
He says hackers could face up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
“There’s no doubt about it… When individuals engage in this activity, law enforcement can identify the users… And they will,” Cantorna added.
Investigations are underway right now.
Since March 31st, there have been 26 reports of zoom bombing on Penn State’s University Park Campus.
No information on who did the “zoom bombing” has been released. Outside of PSU, State College Area School District reports they have not seen any cases of “zoom bombing.”
Cantorna says the county will continue aggressively prosecuting any hackers.
Below are some tips for keeping your video meetings safe:
- Add a password for everyone to join
- Only allow the host to share their screen
- Most importantly, don’t share the link to the chat publicly–like on social media.
Multiple technology research organizations report that Zoom should not be used to discuss confidential information such as health records or legal matters. These organizations report the the encryption security for the app is flawed.
Zoom recently stated they are working to fix this in updated version of the application.