FBI warns of teleconferencing and online classroom hijacking during COVID-19 pandemic

BOSTON, Mass. (FBI)–As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide.

The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images, and threatening language.Within the FBI Boston Division’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) which includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, two schools in Massachusetts reported the following incidents:

 As individuals continue the transition to online lessons and meetings, the FBI recommends exercising due diligence and caution in your cybersecurity efforts. The following steps can be taken to mitigate teleconference hijacking threats: 

 If you were a victim of a teleconference hijacking, or any cyber-crime for that matter, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.  Additionally, if you receive a specific threat during a teleconference, please report it to us at tips.fbi.gov or call the FBI Boston Division at 857-386-2000.