ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) – From business to school, in the COVID era, virtual meetings have become a necessity. That creates an open invitation for hackers. They were back Friday in St. Louis, disrupted the Department of Public Health’s virtual conference “Legacy Stories from the Descendants of the Tuskegee Trial.”
The public health conversation is part of the Black History Month initiative to raise awareness about the history of the Tuskegee experiment and the procrastination on vaccination among African Americans. The event was widely publicized on social media, inviting everyone to attend the Zoom session with just a click of a link or an easy QR code scan.
But a county employee said loud music, pornographic images and racist scribbles interrupted the meeting.
A spokesperson for the St. Louis said it “believes it is racially motivated” and released a statement that said, “Today the St. Louis County Department of Public Health was the target of a malicious online attack that forced us to had to end a virtual webinar discussion about COVID-19 vaccination and the African American community early. We regret that this attack prevented the public from hearing important information, including commentary. from descendants of victims of the Tuskegee Study who were willing to discuss why vaccinations are so important We apologize that members of the public trying to access the discussion were denied detected offensive images. The event will be rescheduled with higher security measures to a future date.”
County typically uses Boxcast and Cisco Webex for virtual meetings, including county assemblies, because it’s more secure. But this chat is only open to anyone with the Zoom link or QR code. Cybersecurity experts, who were not involved in this particular investigation, told News 4 they believe that may be part of the problem.
Joe Hoosech, vice president of security operations at SpearTip.
Hacks like this are happening everywhere. Recently in Kansas City, the FBI was summoned to investigate after a Rockhurst virtual council discussion about black-owned businesses was attacked by people shouting obscenities about it. race and showing a sexually explicit video involving a child. That has also been magnified.
Back to County St. Louis, a spokesperson for the health department said it contacted law enforcement about the incident Friday. It is not clear what charges may be brought against who is behind the attack.
When asked about the hack, a Zoom company spokesperson said in a statement, “We are saddened to learn of incidents of this type and Zoom strongly condemns such behaviour. We are committed to maintaining an equal, respectful and inclusive online environment for all of our users. We take meeting interruptions very seriously, and where appropriate, we work closely with law enforcement. We encourage users to report any incidents of this type to Zoom and law enforcement agencies so that appropriate action can be taken against violators. We have a number of default settings and features to give organizers easier access to meeting security controls, including screen sharing controls, deletion, and participant reporting as well as locking the meeting, among other actions. We have also educated users on security best practices for setting up their meetings, including recommending that users avoid publicly sharing private meeting links and passwords on websites. web, social media, or other public forums, and encourage anyone hosting large-scale or public events to use Zoom’s webinar solution. “
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