Story at a glance

  • A San Francisco-based church is suing Zoom after a hacking incident last week.
  • The lawsuit states that the company did nothing in response to complaints.
  • Amid high user activity during the pandemic, Zoom aims at consistently upgrading security.

A California church filed a proposed class action lawsuit against video streaming service Zoom after the church’s Bible class was hacked and interrupted with pornographic images, a phenomenon known as “Zoombombing,” according to USA Today.

The attack occurred on May 6 during a virtual Bible study class. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the church and Heddi N. Cundle, a church administrator. According to the complaint, attendees allegedly “had their computer screens hijacked and their control buttons disabled while being forced to watch pornographic video footages.”

The suit also alleges that the class was "Zoombombed" by a user who had been reported multiple times for similar misconduct prior to the May 6 incident. Cundle reportedly said that despite reaching out to Zoom regarding the incident, the company did “nothing.” 


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The church, Saint Paulus Lutheran Church, is located in San Francisco, and filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in the District Court in San Jose, Calif. 

A spokesperson for Zoom issued a statement via email saying that the company was "deeply upset" about the incident, and took action the day of the attack.

"Words cannot express how strongly we condemn such behavior. On the same day we learned of this incident, we identified the offender, took action to block their access to the platform and reported them to the relevant authorities."

Zoom also suggested users continue to report similar incidents to Zoom or law enforcement. The company also encourages hosts to use the software's security features that protect against Zoombombing, as well as only sharing meeting IDs and passwords with trusted attendees and users.

Zoom, a San Jose-based software company that enables video conferencing, has experienced staggering user growth during the coronavirus pandemic as people are forced to work and socialize remotely. Private users and governments alike have been relying on Zoom to keep life moving as the coronavirus puts daily routines on pause.

With this increased usage came more user and data privacy concerns. Since early April, Zoom has addressed multiple instances of "Zoombombing." Last week, Oklahoma City University’s virtual graduation, hosted on Zoom, was hacked with racist imagery broadcasted on screen.

In response, the company is currently developing new security features to accommodate a growing body of users. On Wednesday, Zoom issued a statement summarizing some of its latest technological upgrades, including improved end-to-end encryption, which secures communication between two users. 

A new version of Zoom software, Zoom 5.0, is also available, and only users with the updated software can join virtual Zoom meetings beginning on May 30, 2020.


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This article was updated on May 15, 2020 at 9:00 am EST. 

Published on May 14, 2020