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New Jersey Schools Halt Zoom Use After Meeting Hacks

A hacker showed inappropriate content during a New Jersey school’s class on Zoom, the online video conferencing service that has soared in popularity during online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

by Chris Franklin, NJ Advance Media Group / April 28, 2020
St. Petersburg City Council members conduct their Thursday meeting via Zoom. (Josh Solomon/Tampa Bay Times) TNS

(TNS) — A hacker showed inappropriate content during a New Jersey school’s class being conducted on Zoom, the online video conferencing service that has soared in popularity during online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The district, Lumberton Township Public Schools in Burlington County, will halt using Zoom while they investigate, the district said Monday.

In a letter sent to the school community, Superintendent of Schools Joe Langowski said a hacker gained access to a Lumberton Middle School session. Once inside the Zoom meeting, the hacker then proceeded to show pornographic images and used racist language. The incident was estimated to have lasted for 15 seconds, he wrote.

Langowski said a teacher and co-host who were monitoring the meeting’s waiting room ended the hacker’s session immediately and proceeded to notify members of the school district’s administration.

“We have worked tirelessly to develop a superior educational experience for the children of Lumberton in these most difficult times, but as always, the safety of our children is paramount,” Langowski wrote. “Therefore, we will be suspending the use of Zoom temporarily while we determine if it can continue to be used safely for our students.”

The Lumberton Township Police Department has initiated an investigation, and the district’s technology department is investigating what led to the intrusion and how the person was able to bypass security measures that were in place.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had previously issued a warning about hackers who were trying to gain access to Zoom meetings, which is called “Zoom bombing.”

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©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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