In the latest couple of hours we have been alerted to a story that has been reported by numerous news outlets of a UK incident of “Zoom-bombing” hacking.
This particular incident affected about 60 children who were taking part in a class hosted by a sports club in Plymouth and they were exposed to “extremely distressing” material, police stated.
Devon and Cornwall Police believe the “Zoom-bombing” hacker gained access to the online conferencing app – Zoom is a popular way to communicate during the current lockdown – after details of the session were published on online forums.
We understand that news of children being displayed “extremely distressing” footage of sex abuse is of huge concern to parents and class leaders around the UK and we understand the panic this may cause.
As the Devon and Cornwall Police have stated, they believe the hacker gained access after details of the session were published online and from the statement given, we have no reason to believe it was a forced entry into the video call.
It’s essential that children and class leaders know how to keep safe online. When using a video conferencing app, such as Zoom, it’s important that class leaders and organisations review this alongside their safeguarding policy. The main advice we have to avoid unwanted visitors into your call is for everyone (both children and adults) to not publish any details of the call online, such as the call ID. The call information should be shared privately to make sure everyone can remain safe online during these difficult times.
We have published a full advice and support page on Online Sexual Abuse, you can visit that by clicking here.
For general e-safety advice and tips please visit our E-Safety page, you can also visit that by clicking here.
Devon and Cornwall Police are working closely with Plymouth Safeguarding Children’s Partnership and they request that, if you have been affected by the hacking in Plymouth, then you can come forward and let them know who you are so they can provide the necessary advice and support.