Police issue 'Zoom-bombing' warning after child abuse images seen on video platform

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Wiltshire Police confirmed reports of three incidents where Zoom meetings were interrupted by video footage of child abuse. (PA)

Police have issued a warning to users of video-calling app Zoom after child abuse imagery was used to hijack several calls on the service.

Wiltshire Police have urged the public to remain vigilant and check security settings when using the service after it confirmed reports of three incidents where meetings were interrupted by video footage of child abuse.

Such incidents are known as “Zoom-bombing” – when uninvited guests break into a video conference and disrupt it with offensive language or imagery – and a number of other cases have been reported in the UK and around the world.

The hijack method originated through a security flaw in the platform - which allows anyone to access a meeting if they obtain its unique ID number or link to join.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) says there are at least 300,000 people in the UK posing a sexual threat to children during the coronavirus outbreak. (Getty Images)

Gemma Vinton, Detective Inspector digital investigations and intelligence unit at Wiltshire Police, said: “Incidents of this nature have been reported globally as well as in the UK recently, however, we have now, unfortunately, had three reports within Wiltshire in the last week.

“These zoom-bombings have involved extremely unpleasant indecent child-abuse video footage being shown via screen sharing by a meeting participant who was not known to the organisers of the video conferences.

“The meetings were publicised on social media with limited security settings so we’re urging individuals and businesses alike to remain vigilant and ensure settings are fixed correctly to prevent future occurrences.”

Wiltshire Police have urged the public to remain vigilant and check security settings when using the video calling app. (Getty Images)

In a statement, Zoom said: “These incidents are truly devastating and appalling, and our user policies explicitly prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal or violent activity or content on the platform.

“Zoom strongly condemns such behaviour and appreciates efforts to raise awareness around how best to prevent these kinds of attacks.

“Zoom has been similarly educating users on best practices, including recommending that users never share private meeting links publicly, and we recently updated several features to help users more easily protect their meetings.”

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