SURPRISE, AZ — Dozens of Valley middle school students were exposed to a sexually explicit video on their first day back at school via a virtual classroom.
Parents of teens and pre-teens at Legacy Traditional School in Surprise say there were roughly 60 kids in the cyber-class when a pornographic video filled the screen, according to ABC15.
— The K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center (@K12CyberMap) August 7, 2020
Tahnee Conner’s 12-year-old called out for his mom Wednesday, just an hour into his school day.
“He said, ‘Mommy, something weird is going on.’ So I walked over to the computer and all the little faces were popped up there and they all had this puzzled, well horrified, look on their face,” said Conner.
The mother also saw the R-rated video fill the screen:
“And the teacher, bless her heart, was trying the best she could. Like every time it popped up. She kept taking it off. But she couldn’t block the guy,” she said.
Eventually the Google Meet session was shut down.
School spokesperson Matthew Benson said that a student created a fake email address and duped the teacher into letting him in:
“Legacy Traditional Schools takes this situation seriously, and we have reinforced that students who fall short of our expectations for mature, respectful behavior will face disciplinary consequences. Our live, online teaching sessions will resume Thursday with enhanced cybersecurity measures in place.”
However, according to ABC15, the Google Meets room was not password protected, did not have any sharing or content restrictions and access was not linked to specific emails.
Principal Josh Leon also wrote to parents, “We have no reason to believe this was a Legacy student or that students were harmed in any way.”
Conner disagreed with that assessment:
“Just because they weren’t physically harmed doesn’t mean they weren’t harmed. That isn’t an image my son has ever seen before.”
She also questioned how this was able to happen so easily:
“I don’t want to fault the school, but it is kind of their fault for not thinking ahead. They’ve had all summer to do it.”
Conner also told ABC15 that other parents have witnessed cussing, lewd comments and dirty links shared in chatrooms as well.
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Kyrene School District in Tempe told ABC15 how it deals with potential external and internal threats surrounding online learning:
“To enter the classroom, the student must first be logged into our secure system. They also have “additional safeguards [like] teacher control of audio, video and attendance — if a teacher leaves the room, it automatically shuts down — and links to class sessions are not shareable. If someone outside the system tries to use one of our links, it will not function.”
The Madison School District said it requires students to use a username and password, and their “District-issued Chromebooks include content filters so that students can only access educational materials and programs.”
Mesa Public Schools also have a password requirement for meetings and monitoring options for parents to see what websites their children are accessing, or trying to access, and how much time they are spending online.
Legacy Traditional did not provide specifics about how they were improving security measures to prevent a repeat of Wednesday, but said, “Our live, online teaching sessions will resume Thursday with enhanced cybersecurity measures in place.”
In March, the FBI Boston Division warned in a press release that teleconferences and classrooms were being hijacked during the Covid-19 pandemic:
“As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called ‘Zoom-bombing’) are emerging nationwide. The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.”
— Bob Jackson (@1st_infantry) August 8, 2020
The press release noted two schools in Massachusetts that reported unauthorized access to online classes in progress:
“In late March 2020, a Massachusetts-based high school reported that while a teacher was conducting an online class using the teleconferencing software Zoom, an unidentified individual(s) dialed into the classroom. This individual yelled a profanity and then shouted the teacher’s home address in the middle of instruction.
“A second Massachusetts-based school reported a Zoom meeting being accessed by an unidentified individual. In this incident, the individual was visible on the video camera and displayed swastika tattoos.”
With the increased use of online lessons and meetings, the FBI recommends using caution and taking the following steps to prevent teleconference hijacking threats:
“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 people.
“Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to ‘Host Only.’
“Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
“Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.”
Victims of a teleconference hijacking or any cyber-crime can file a report to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Additionally, if you receive a specific threat during a teleconference, report it at tips.fbi.gov.
In July, we reported how college students wanted to have their professor fired for allegedly falling asleep during a Zoom meeting dealing with the topic of “anti-racism.”
Marymount Manhattan College’s Patricia Simon is in trouble for allegedly sleeping during a Zoom meeting on anti-racism (she says she was resting her eyes). The signatories’ childishly vicious reasons for signing are well worth reading as a sign of our age.https://t.co/1QaczKOFLF
— Janice Fiamengo (@JaniceFiamengo) July 17, 2020
A Change.org petition with almost 2,000 signatures has been circulating among the students at MaryMount Manhattan College in New York. It was started by a student by the name of Caitlyn Gagnon and calls for the firing of Associate Professor Patricia Hoag Simon.
The petition alleges that during a recent Town Hall Zoom Meeting held on June 29, to discuss the adoption of an “anti-racist” framework, Simon appeared to be asleep during the meeting.
The petition organizer is demanding that she be fired because of this. Apparently, in today’s narrative, if you close your eyes during an ethics Zoom meeting, that automatically makes you a racist.
The petition accuses Simon’s alleged nap, “only capitalized on a pattern of negligence and disrespect.”
When campus newspaper, Campus Reform, spoke to Professor Simon, she stated that she was not asleep at any point during the meeting.
Rather, she said:
“[I was] resting my Zoom-weary eyes with my head tilted back which I must do in order to see my computer screen through my trifocal progressive lenses. I listened with my ears and heart the entire meeting.”
The petition also “demands” the removal of Professor Simon because she “does not align with the anti-racist views and actions that were promised to be adopted by the department earlier in the week at the Town Hall meetings.
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