MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The FBI is issuing a warning after an increase in reports of “Zoombombing” with child sexual abuse material (CSAM) being displayed during Zoom meetings.

According to the FBI, it has received 195 incidents so far in the country, including a few incidents in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The incidents involve a Zoom participant joining a public meeting and broadcasting video depicting child abuse.

“The FBI considers this activity to be a violent crime, as every time child sexual abuse material is viewed, the depicted child is revictimized. Furthermore, anyone who inadvertently sees child sexual abuse material depicted during a virtual event is potentially a victim, as well,” the FBI said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many organizations and schools conducting meetings/events online, some of which are open to the public. That makes it easier for anyone to join and has resulted in more “Zoombombing”, which is a recently-coined term for uninvited guests displaying vulgar material during Zoom meetings.

The FBI suggests the following:

  • If you are the administrator or host of a Zoom meeting in which CSAM was broadcast, please contact the FBI; do not delete or destroy any of your computer logs without further direction.
  • If you recorded a Zoom meeting in which child sexual abuse material was broadcast, please contact the FBI for assistance in removing the CSAM from your device.
  • If you believe you are a victim of a child sexual abuse material broadcast during a Zoom event, as defined above, please contact the FBI to learn about your victim rights and possible victim assistance.
  • If you know who is committing these most recent egregious crimes, please contact the FBI.

Additionally, the FBI says these steps may mitigate future incidents during Zoom events:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: Require a meeting password, or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted, publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific attendees.
  • Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”

Anyone who is a victim of CSAM being broadcast during a Zoom event, or has information regarding the identity of someone distributing/producing CSAM, is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or anonymously online at tips.fbi.gov.

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