Friday, October 30, 2020
Oct. 30, 2020

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Winlock school Zoom hacked with pornographic images, district steps up security


Longview — In an example of a danger with remote learning, Winlock School District said a remote Zoom class was hacked early last week and the middle school students were shown pornographic images before the teacher shut the class down.

Superintendent Garry Cameron said it was an isolated incident that affected one class. He said the district is investigating, as well as implementing additional security steps.

“We want to always keep kids safe physically and emotionally,” he said. “We’re taking this very seriously. The district is investigating this. We did change platforms for that grade level and we are looking into authenticating student users.”

Cameron said the district is looking at putting two-step authentication into place for Zoom lessons, in addition to the existing passwords students use. He said it did not appear that any student or adult passwords were compromised.

“We have to make sure we’re secure and protect our kids,” he said. “That’s important.”

In early May, Zoom made national headlines for situations exactly like this, dubbed “zoombombing.” After several classes were hacked and inappropriate messages or images shown to students of all ages, Zoom stepped up security with features like the waiting room, which allows hosts to vet participants before they enter the chat, and restricting screen sharing.

Cameron said all families with students in that class were told what happened. In a video message to the school, he reminded students not to share passwords with anyone.

“It’s really unfortunate and horrible,” he said.