SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Disturbing and unacceptable. That’s how Spartanburg city leaders are describing the content hackers shared who they said overtook their Zoom meeting Wednesday evening. Now, they’re working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
It started as a typical Zoom meeting for the City of Spartanburg Wednesday evening. This one was a public input session for their comprehensive plan.
Suddenly, city leaders told us, they were infiltrated by hackers. Not only saying and typing offensive comments posing under other account names, but also taking over the screen with inappropriate videos before they could shut it down.
“Someone shows up on the call you didn’t invite, and they’re unruly and it’s a problem,” said Founder of Tech After Five, Phil Yanov.
It’s called “Zoombombing” and Phil Yanov is no stranger to the concept. He’s a tech expert. Because of that, he has spent a lot of time on Zoom. He told us, preventing something like this goes back to taking extra security measures before starting the meeting.
“On my calls for example, I require you to login with a username, a password and a known email address. If you don’t have those things, you can’t jump onto my calls,” Yanov explained.
Yanov told 7 News, getting access to an open Zoom link is easy for hackers. But he told us, they can’t really steal any compromising information. They can however, wreak havoc with offensive materials.
As for future city-related meetings, a spokesperson there told us they will be taking additional steps to secure them and make sure this doesn’t happen again.
You can find more information on the incident from the City of Spartanburg below:
“We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to any participants subjected to the abhorrent, disturbing content that was displayed. While we have no reason to believe that these hackers were local, we will be taking additional steps to secure future meetings, ensuring that this kind of unacceptable disruption does not occur again at one of our crucial PlanSpartanburg public input sessions.
We will be sharing info in the coming days regarding a rescheduled date for the event. In the meantime, we appreciate your understanding, patience, and willingness to participate in this important planning process.”