Hackers post pornography in New Hartford Virtual Classroom

The New Hartford Central School district is actively working to find out who's responsible for a hack on their virtual learning classroom. Last week a hacker posing as a student in a health class was admitted into the classroom.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 6:26 PM

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. --- The New Hartford Central School district is actively working to find out who's responsible for a hack on their virtual learning classroom. Last week a hacker posing as a student in a health class was admitted into the classroom.

Once in the class, students tell their parents the hacker played a loud noise through the speaker and then posted a pornographic video for the entire class to see. This all happening at the Ralph Perry Junior- High School.

It sparked outrage amongst parents and with district faculty. 

"It is a major concern for us, using electronic instruction is one of our only methods to get things across. We have to use it in essence based on the guidelines but we also want it safe. We can get the police involved if it's a police matter. But again we are just beginning our investigation and in the beginning parts of it," said Andre Paradis, School Principal.

Julianna Newton Pauley said the hackers posed as her 12-year-old daughter. In order for students to get into class, teachers email students the Zoom Invitation link. Julianna said somehow the hackers got the link and her child's name. Julianna said the hackers probably found out through class rosters, her daughter wasn't in class yet, making her the perfect target. 

Julianna posted her story to a New Hartford Facebook page and got close to 100 responses from parents who had a similar experience.

"In arth science, there were just racist remarks that were blurting out to the kids. In a Spanish class, I heard it was just straight-up pornography," said Newton-Pauley.

NEWSChannel 2 reached out to Zoom for a comment and they responded that Zoom's trust and safety teams are also now investigating this incident. 

“We have been deeply upset to hear about these types of incidents, and Zoom strongly condemns such behavior. We have recently enabled meeting passwords and virtual waiting rooms by default for users enrolled in our K-12 program and also updated the default screen share settings to ensure teachers are the only ones who can share content in class. Zoom is committed to providing educators with the tools and resources they need on a safe and secure platform, and we are continuing to engage with all of our users on how they can best utilize Zoom’s security features to protect their meetings. We take meeting disruptions extremely seriously and where appropriate, we work closely with law enforcement authorities. We encourage users to report any incidents of this kind to Zoom and law enforcement authorities so the appropriate action can be taken against offenders." - Zoom Company Spokesperson.

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