The troubles and consequences of zoom-bombing

BY

ART BY ANNIE LIANG

GARY LEE STAFF WRITER


2020, the year of disaster, a sudden change leading to instability and unforeseen events.


Zoom-bombing is a term recently created to describe the interference of unknown personnel in what is otherwise a secure classroom. While it seems to be a practical joke, in actuality, the action of zoom-bombing is a crime far more severe than just some random pranks.


The process of zoom-bombing is actually pretty simple: individuals will receive a code, whether it was passed on by others or shared publicly. Then, the unknown person joins the classroom and starts doing random actions that may disrupt the class. The act itself may seem childish and harmless, but there is nothing to laugh at. Think about it, what if the zoom-bombing happened in a real class or meeting?


If this happened in real life, this would be the same as going into a classroom you are not supposed to be in and disrupting an entire class. It would be worse if the person did not even go to the school they just “bombed.” No one would say that it is just a harmless prank, but instead, they would get the cops.


Subsequently, why would the same thing not happen in online classes? And even if it did, what good will it do? These classes are online and pretty much anyone with access to electronics can be the perpetrator and with the correct skills, they could mask themselves to be out of reach of authorities.


Consequently, the fact remains that if a breach did happen, no matter how small their actions may be, the perpetrator is still a breach of the "secure" online classroom.


This raises the question: are classes truly able to accomplish the privacy that is present when school is physically in session? If all it takes to break in is to get the classroom ID, the password and a change of username, can the classes really be called secured? What is actually stopping someone from entering the classroom? Furthermore, what is stopping them from staying within the classroom?


The school has stated that they have certain countermeasures in terms of identification. However, they can only do so much, with technology being as advanced as it is today, it is not that difficult for someone to put on a filter, a voice modulator and pretend to be a student. Essentially, zoom bombers do not even need to pretend; they can just get into a classroom, create some chaos and leave the meeting with no repercussions at all. It would be even worse if they get pictures or recordings of the students and post it online anonymously.


Furthermore, having the crime being done online is what makes finding concrete evidence so much more difficult. Securing confidentiality is something that is far more easier to do online than it is in person. While in-person crimes can leave physical evidence that is used to pin-point the perpetrator, being online however, do not. Someone can just get a virtual private network and pretty much any and all evidence towards the personnel would become untraceable.


Thus, with no one immediately to take the blame, the school and zoom would be the ones held responsible, due to their decision to use such an unsecured application and their policy of openness. Ironic really, as it turns out, one of the school’s main methods of ensuring privacy would be the one that would expose people the most.