On 7 May 2020, some members of South Africa's parliament was met with a shock during a scheduled Zoom meeting. A person who happened to have the Zoom meeting credentials, including the password, joined the meeting and started publishing offensive images during the meeting.

Even though some media in South Africa reported the incident as a result of hacking, the reality is that the South African Parliament's Twitter account published the Zoom meeting details (including the password).

Details of Zoom meeting as published on Twitter by the parliament of South Africa.

South Africa's speaker of parliament insulted by Zoom-bombers

It's reported that as soon as the South African Parliamentary Program Committee online meeting commenced, the person started "bombing" it with offensive images. This was followed by the unidentified person uttering racial slurs at Thandi Modise, South Africa's speaker of parliament.

Following this attack, the meeting was abandoned and a new online meeting was started.

Although Zoom does have some security issues that it needs to account for, most of what has been reported on relates more to many Zoom users not being familiar with security measures they need to put in place to avoid "Zoom-bombing." In the case of South Africa's Parliament, they published the meeting link and password publicly allowing anyone to join the online meeting.

Zoom trolling and bombing becoming common

Given how the coronavirus 2019 pandemic (COVID-19) has driven many governments towards enforcing lockdowns that ended up the restriction of movement, many people around the world are now working remotely from home. This has resulted in the popularity of online meeting tools such as Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, and others.

As a result of this growing popularity and usage of online meeting tools, some people are using the tools for the first time and are still familiarizing themselves with best practices and security measures around hosting online meetings. This learning curve has seen trolls and mischievous people crawling social media and the web for online meeting links so they can just join them to broadcast offensive messages and images.

One of the easy ways that these attackers gain access to the Zoom meetings is through searching for publicly available "zoom.us" URLs on social media platforms and using Google Search.

With this rise in "Zoom-bombing," the video conferencing company has started adding more features to help users have more control over their meetings. These include locking a meeting once it has started.

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