Ocean Beach Planning Board Meeting ‘Zoom Bombed’ With Swastikas, Porn and Personal Attacks

by on April 3, 2020 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

On Wednesday night, April 1, the OB Planning Board tried to hold their public meeting via Zoom. But after about 5 minutes into the virtual meeting, it was – what’s called “Zoom Bombed”. The number of “attendees” suddenly spiked, Chair Andrea Schalgeter lost host controls, swastikas appeared, a porn website screen appeared and Board members were “verbally harassed by name”, according to Schalgeter.

As you can imagine, the meeting came to a grinding halt. The incident was reported to the San Diego police and Schalgeter has been in contact with the City Attorney’s Office.

This is not the first time a virtual meeting via Zoom has been disrupted with swastikas and porn.

Here below is Andrea’s report about the incident to the community, written April 2:

Last night during the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s April meeting, we experienced what is being called a “Zoom Bombing”. After the first 5 minutes of the OBPB meeting, the number of attendees suddenly spiked, host controls were overridden, swastikas were drawn overtop the screen shared agenda, every person in attendance was verbally harassed by name, and a porn website was screen shared.

Unfortunately, we’ve learned that this has become a trend for public meetings hosted on chat platforms. Accordingly, we have filed a police report and have been assigned a case number. If you were able to record any of the meeting or have any information, please contact us so we may forward it to the San Diego Police Department.

We are in contact with the City’s Attorney’s office to review what cybersecurity measures can be taken that would comply with the Brown Act, which requires our
meetings open to the public.

On a personal note, I am disappointed. I was looking forward to thanking my fellow board members for being adaptive, making their volunteer role in the community a priority, and continuing their efforts to lead during this crisis. Unfortunately low brow, obnoxious harassers are adaptive too. But rest assured, I am not dissuaded and am looking at all options to reschedule the meeting soon.

In the meantime, stay healthy and safe, OBecians.
Best,
Andrea Schlageter
Chair, Ocean Beach Planning Board

Here is more info on “Zoom Bombing” from Fortune magazine:

Zoom meetings keep getting hacked. Here’s how to prevent ‘Zoom bombing’ on your video chats

As people and businesses have become increasingly reliant on video chatting since the coronavirus pandemic began, the FBI’s Boston office reported this week that “Zoom bombing” incidents are occurring across America. A disruption specific to the teleconferencing app Zoom, which has recently surged in popularity, this vulnerability has been been exploited by hackers, with disturbing results.

On March 30, for instance, uninvited strangers crashed a Zoom meeting on cyberattacks. When the presenter started covering coronavirus disinformation posted to Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter, a Zoom bomber scribbled all over the screen, forcing the meeting to end early.

 Zoom hacking issues like this are happening all over the world, from over-the-Internet Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to sensitive, high-level government gatherings. Here’s how Zoom bombings work, and, more importantly, how to prevent them.

What is Zoom bombing?

Many Zoom bombing incidents have amounted to a form of trolling. Hackers gain access to a Zoom meeting and attempt to disrupt the video chat and upset participants by shouting profanity or racial slurs, or putting disturbing or offensive images in their video feed.

The vulnerability also has people wondering if Zoom is safe to use. Particularly in a large meeting, an unwelcome participant might go unnoticed, enabling that person to record the meeting or otherwise gather information. In particularly sensitive cases, this could become a method of corporate espionage or blackmail.

How are hackers joining Zoom meetings they aren’t supposed to be in?
The majority of Zoom bombing attacks appear not to be the product of flaws in Zoom’s code, but rather of users’ overall cybersecurity hygiene and their imperfect command of Zoom’s privacy settings.

If a Zoom meeting is set to public, it can be accessed by anyone with the correct link. According to Roy Zur, cofounder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Cybint, bad actors can find these addresses simply by searching for “zoom.us” on social media sites like Facebook, where public meeting links are often posted. Dedicated forums have also cropped up on sites like Reddit, where Zoombombing was described as “dedicated to the posting of Zoom Classroom Meeting IDs.” Reddit says it has now banned the forum for violating site policies.

How can I prevent Zoom bombing of my meetings and video calls?

For more of this article, please go here.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Jon April 3, 2020 at 12:07 pm

We have nothing to fear but fear itself! And stupid. We should be pretty afraid of stupid right now too.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie April 3, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Today, from Washington Post: Thousands of personal Zoom videos have been left viewable on the open Web, highlighting the privacy risks to millions of Americans as they shift many of their personal interactions to video calls in an age of social distancing.

Videos viewed by The Washington Post included one-on-one therapy sessions; a training orientation for workers doing telehealth calls that included people’s names and phone numbers; small-business meetings that included private company financial statements; and elementary-school classes, in which children’s faces, voices and personal details were exposed.

Many of the videos include personally identifiable information and deeply intimate conversations, recorded in people’s homes. Other videos include nudity, such as one in which an aesthetician teaches students how to give a Brazilian wax. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/04/03/thousands-zoom-video-calls-left-exposed-open-web/?utm_campaign=wp_news_alert_revere_trending_now&utm_medium=email&utm_source=alert&wpisrc=al_trending_now__alert-economy–alert-national&wpmk=1

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Avatar kh April 3, 2020 at 9:32 pm

The unique challenge facing an org like the planning board, is the meeting has to be open to the public, by law. You can’t pass out secret invites.

City council is only allowing written comment prior to the meeting which doesn’t even seem to comply with the relaxed Brown Act rules.

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