A Massachusetts church's virtual service was disrupted this week by “Zoombombers.”
Tabernacle Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ church in Salem, was streaming its online worship service Sunday when someone interrupted their stream with a racist video.
According to The Christian Post, the rogue stream included footage of a Ku Klux Klan meeting with a cross burning and audio with a racist lyrics and comments.
Rev. Joe Amico, pastor at Tabernacle, told The Christian Post, that the “Zoombombers” “kept asking our host to share the screen and as soon as she denied and kicked one off another zoomed in until she ended the meeting.”
Amico said they reported the incident to the Salem police liaison to the City of Salem No Place for Hate Committee.
The church service will now only allow access to the service via a dedicated email list.
“We feel badly because we had been having visitors join our worship. Now folks have to contact us for the link and be vetted by how they know us,” he said.
The FBI is also investigating the case.
“Zoom bombing” has become prevalent as people are using the online video conferencing service for work and other meetings.
In March, the FBI’s Boston office warned about the problem.
“The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” an FBI statement said.
“As individuals continue the transition to online lessons and meetings, the FBI recommends exercising due diligence and caution in your cybersecurity efforts.”
Zoom released an update to its software last week to address Zoombombing. The new version includes encryption and new privacy controls. Zoom 5.0 also allows hosts to “report a user” and has a “waiting room” where participants have to be approved.
“We will earn our customers’ trust and deliver them happiness with our unwavering focus on providing the most secure platform,” Eric Yuan, Zoom’s chief executive officer, said.
Photo courtesy: Alejandro Escamilla/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.