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Experts urge vigilance as 'Zoom bombing' disrupts virtual gatherings

Posted at 10:32 PM, Apr 14, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — A disruption known as ‘Zoom bombing’ is becoming more prevalent during public meetings held in a virtual setting.

Zoom bombing occurs when meeting attendees interrupt the proceedings with inappropriate images or comments.

Tuesday, a meeting of Utah’s Independent Redistricting Commission was forced to conclude early due lewd images and profanity flooding the screen.

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That incident wasn’t the first in Utah. In February, a virtual gathering involving Salt Lake Community College was Zoom bombed.

The incidents are difficult for law enforcement to investigate.

Tuesday’s Zoom bombing during the Independent Redistricting Commission meeting, while annoying, didn’t necessarily include illegal content.

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“It depends on every situation, and we have to assess what was said what was done and what was shown on the screen in each case,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Plank with the State Bureau of Investigation.

So far, that incident has not been reported to law enforcement.

February’s case at Salt Lake Community College is being investigated because some of the images sent in the Zoom bomb allegedly contained child pornography.

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No charges have been filed because the perpetrators have managed to avoid law enforcement by using virtual private networks or anonymous browsers.

“We ran down all the IP addresses we could and we found they were all foreign IP addresses,” Plank said. “Some all over the world. We had some in Spain, Brazil, Germany.

Plank is not aware of any incidents of Zoom bombing in Utah that have resulted in criminal charges.

Every incident is a reminder to be vigilant with security measures, including assigning each meeting attendee a unique password, when it comes to virtual gatherings.