Teen arrested after ‘Zoom bombing’ high school classes

MADISON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut teen accused of a cyber attack known as “Zoom bombing” during a number of online classes was charged Wednesday with computer crimes.

Officials were able to trace a series of similar interruptions to one teenager in Madison, the Hartford Courant reported.

Zoom bombing, which is when an unwanted guest joins a video call with an intention to disrupt and harass, began to happen when Madison Public Schools turned to the popular video conferencing software to conduct classes amid national concern for the coronavirus.

Teachers reported the unidentified teen would join the online classes and intentionally disrupt them with “obscene language and gestures,” according to Madison Police Capt. Joseph Race.

The teen was arrested and charged on Wednesday.

The teen has been charged with committing fifth-degree computer crime, fifth-degree conspiracy to commit a computer crime and breach of peace, Race said

The reported cyber attacks have forced Madison schools to transition away from Zoom to other platforms like Google Meet to conduct virtual classes as Connecticut schools remain closed.

“We have decided to suspend use of Zoom for whole group instruction until the district can have more assurance that Zoom has addressed security concerns,” Madison Superintendent Tom Scarice wrote in a note to parents Tuesday.

Law enforcement agencies across the country are trying to adapt and respond to reports of uninvited guests on video conferencing platforms who make threats, interject racist, anti-gay or anti-Semitic messages, or show pornographic images.

Zoom has referred to trolls as “party crashers,” which some critics have taken as a sign the company is downplaying the attacks.

In a statement issued last week, the company told The Associated Press it takes the security of meetings seriously and encourages users to report any incidents directly to Zoom. The company suggested that people hosting large, public meetings confirm that they are the only ones who can share their screen and use features like mute controls.

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