CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Two virtual school meetings were ‘Zoom bombed’ with pornographic material Wednesday night, according to those on the calls.
One happened on a call of Wyoming Middle School parents and the other was a town hall-style meeting between Cincinnati Public School District parents and teachers and a congressional candidate.
Jamie Castle is running against Republican Brad Wenstrup for Ohio’s Second Congressional seat. She held the town hall meeting to discuss the opening of schools and invited CPS Board Member Mike Moroski to participate.
“And I was just introducing Mike, and we were getting into the questions,” she explained, “and then we see, middle of the screen, and shocked, something like noises... it was really confusing at first. There was a naked man exposing himself saying really crude things about me, to me.”
The Wyoming incident happened in a similar fashion, but police say there is no way of knowing if the computer hacks are connected.
But in a world of virtual meetings, it could be a problem going into the school year, says FOX19 NOW cyber security expert Dave Hatter.
“If you have a room full of school children and you have a teacher who is conducting a class, and suddenly there’s some half-dressed or undressed adult there, you know, that’s a potential problem, obviously,” Hatter said. “no one would want their kids exposed to something like that.”
Hatter suggests investing the time to understand the privacy and security of the different virtual meeting platforms and train others on how to use them.
“If you just make yourself a harder target, the bad guys will move on to somewhere else,” he said.
Other tech experts discourage town hall-style virtual meetings, as even with meeting passwords there is no way to completely block a hacker from breaking in.
Suggestions include sending out individual invitations to the meeting and setting up a waiting room so that the moderator can see who is there and select whom they want to join the conversation.
Castle says the experience was upsetting.
“It’s frustrating, because you do feel violated, and everybody there felt violated, and it’s not fair, because it was such an important topic,” she said. “So I kept my cool the whole time. I shut it down, and then another one would pop up, and we shut that down, and I’m trying to keep it together because it was such a wonderful group, and it was so important to have this conversation.”
Wyoming Police Chief Rusty Herzog says the school board did provide his department with some information Thursday, so an investigation is underway.