People take over Utah elementary school Zoom meeting and share pornographic images

Someone took over a Utah elementary school’s Zoom video meeting earlier this week and flashed inappropriate photos on students’ screens.

It happened during a Wednesday morning get-together with Grovecrest Elementary School’s principal Kyle Hoopes. The school is in Pleasant Grove and is part of the Alpine School District.

Around 40 to 50 students were tuned in when the pornographic images appeared, district spokesman David Stephenson said.

He said the images were on the screen for only a few seconds before Hoopes stopped the meeting.

A Facebook post on the school’s website said, “It would be a good idea to talk with your children who may have heard or seen what was shared."

The school said it would continue its weekly Zoom meetings, but added they would be password-protected. The password would be sent out only to parents, and it would change each week.

Stephenson added the district was sharing tips for how to have secure meetings.

He added that schools were in uncharted territory right now, as students have been learning from home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re trying to provide a good experience for our students, and their safety is of the utmost [importance],” Stephenson said. “We’re very disappointed that someone out there would take this opportunity to Zoom-bomb an elementary school meeting.”

School officials also filed a police report about the incident.

Another high-profile Zoom meeting — gubernatorial candidate Aimee Winder Newton’s virtual town hall — was hijacked with pornography and racist images last week.

The Zoom-bomb phenomenon has been happening more often as coronavirus forces more people to stay at home and meet with co-workers and friends virtually. The FBI spoke out against it Monday, saying in a news release it has received “multiple” reports of meetings being commandeered by people sharing pornographic, hateful and threatening messages.

The company, which says it has grown from 10 million daily meetings in December to 200 million in March, addressed Zoom-bombing on its blog and shared tips for how to prevent a takeover, including limiting who can screen share and managing participants to just those logged into Zoom.

In an entry posted Friday, the company said that they strive for a good and secure user experience.

“However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry ..." the post read.