Hackers disrupt Wake Forest Zoom meeting with racist language

Hackers disrupt Wake Forest Zoom meeting with racist language
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Online hackers disrupted a Zoom meeting of hundreds of Wake Forest University staff on Wednesday using racist language and anti-Semitic images.

Nathan Hatch, president of the university, apologized in a message on the school's webpage, saying he was "sorry that members of our community were subjected to such a vile, violent and threatening attack."

Nearly 500 Wake Forest employees were on the virtual meeting call organized by the university's Staff Advisory Council when anonymous hackers disrupted it.

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Hatch said organizers swiftly shut down the meeting. When it was restarted, the hackers regained access and continued their virtual attack.

According to Hatch's statement, the hackers most likely got access to the secure meeting after a link and password were publicly posted online.

"This was a traumatizing experience for many on the call, especially our Black colleagues, and it reinforces that we all have a role to play in protecting each other and our community from those who would seek to force their hatred upon us," he wrote.

According to the Greensboro News & Record, this is the second time in less than a year that the Winston-Salem, N.C., school has been the target of online assault and disruptions. 

Last September, many staff members and professors received racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic emails calling for the purging of ethnic and sexual minorities.

Other U.S. schools have faced significant problems with online attacks through conference calls, including the University of Southern California and the University of Florida.

Last month, a virtual graduation ceremony at Oklahoma City University was abruptly ended following a similar Zoom attack to the one at Wake Forest, according to Time.

Zoom has worked on improving its video conferencing platform to be less susceptible to online attacks from hackers and added AES 256-bit GCM encryption last month to increase resistance to malicious tampering and hacking.