The Department of Justice and Offices of the United States Attorneys are warning that ‘Zoom-bombing’ is illegal and those who are involved can be charged with federal and state crimes.
As more people are working from home or conducting distance learning due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Zoom video conferencing software has become heavily utilized for remote meetings, online classrooms, exercise classes, and family and friend get-togethers.
Since then, people have crashing, or Zoom-bombing, online meetings to record them as pranks to be shared on YouTube and TikTok or to spread hate, offensive images, and even threatening language.
Zoom meeting IDs are also being traded and shared on Discord, Reddit, and hacker forums according to ZDNet where they are used to conduct Zoom-raids that hijack and disrupt an online meeting or class.
Zoom-bombing is illegal
In a press release on the Department of Justice website, United States Attorneys for Michigan have stated that people involved Zoom-bombing could be charged with federal and state crimes that lead to fines and imprisonment.[
“You think Zoom bombing is funny? Let’s see how funny it is after you get arrested,” stated Matthew Schneider, United States Attorney for Eastern Michigan. “If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door.”
If an individual is found to be hacking into or disrupting online meetings, classrooms, and conferences, charges may include:
- disrupting a public meeting
- computer intrusion
- using a computer to commit a crime
- hate crimes
- transmitting threatening communications.
BleepingComputer has created an exhaustive guide on how to secure online meetings from Zoom-bombing attacks.
If you are regularly conducting Zoom meetings for fun, work, or educational purposes, it is strongly advised that read the above guide and to always make sure to password protect your meetings and not post invites publicly.