'Zoom bomber' hacks children's fitness class and streams child sex abuse video to 60 kids

7 May 2020, 16:46

The hacker targeted a children's exercise class on zoom
The hacker targeted a children's exercise class on zoom. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Police are hunting a 'zoom-bombing' hacker who streamed child sex abuse footage to a children's online fitness class.

Around 60 children were taking part in the virtual fitness class, which was being hosted on popular video chat software Zoom.

The class was being hosted on Tuesday this week by a sports club in Plymouth when the youngsters were exposed to the "extremely distressing" scenes.

Devon and Cornwall Police believe the hacker gained access to the online class after the details of the event were published on online forums.

The force has said it is now working with Plymouth City Council's social care team to identify everyone who was exposed to the footage.

Police have issued advice to people using online video conferencing, including ensuring the host is the only person able to share material and the meeting should be locked to prevent unauthorised access.

Police have issued a warning about "zoom-bombing"
Police have issued a warning about "zoom-bombing". Picture: PA

Detective Inspector Lesley Bulley, who is leading the investigation, said: "We are progressing enquiries to identify the suspect in this distressing offence for all concerned.

"We are working closely with Plymouth Safeguarding Children's Partnership and I request that, if you have been affected by this, then you come forward and let us know who you are so we can provide the necessary advice and support."

Cyber protect officer Grahame Mace added: "Keeping in touch with our friends and family is vital during this period of lockdown.

"But please ensure when setting up video conferencing sessions that you follow the guidelines on keeping your sessions private.

"First and foremost understand what security settings you have implemented and are available for your software, don't leave yourself or others vulnerable, lock it down and keep the criminals out."