An online Zoom class of 50 students at a school in sector 16, Noida, Uttar Pradesh was disrupted by an anonymous cybercriminal who not just used derogatory language against the students but also harassed the teacher.
The disturbing incident was recorded and uploaded on a YouTube channel 'Sun Bae'. The channel that has over forty-three thousand subscribers has uploaded more than 65 such videos of various other Zoom call classes so far.
With titles like 'Online Classes Gone Wrong: Trolling Teachers During Zoom Calls', the videos have thousands of views.
Female students of class 11, whose Psychology class was interrupted, claimed to have received unsolicited online stalkers and friend requests on social media, all quoting the video. The teacher has also been traumatized by the incident and is afraid of conducting another online class since then.
Such online harassment and cyberbullying is not a one-off case. Ever since the classes went online owing to the Coronavirus-induced lockdown, several such incidents during Zoom classes have been reported on news and social media.
The YouTuber, Sun Bae, who posted the videos, seems to be a habitual offender and has played the 'prank' on several other schools. Every video that was posted on the channel had names and faces of minor students, clearly posted without their or their guardians' consent. Many of the comments on the video carried contained lewd and inappropriate language.
The comments of the videos suggest that more than one person is involved in the process. Anonymous users share zoom IDs on the platform including passwords of Zoom classes and also mention what time the classes begin.
Speaking to CNN-News18, one of the female students who attended the online class that was interrupted by the YouTuber, said, “It was very traumatizing. My friends and I received messages about the video from unknown people on our social media accounts". The students had to subsequently deactivate their accounts.
A parent of one of the students told CNN-News18, "Appropriate action should be taken against those involved. When we went ahead with a complaint to the principal, we did not receive a convincing response and even felt that the school authorities are not in favor of registering a formal complaint". Similar cases have happened before but always went unnoticed, the concerned parent said, adding that if a school is conducting online classes, it should also bear responsibility for the security of the students".
"The school is primarily occupying itself with punishing its students who leaked the password and the meeting ID. There's reluctance on the part of the school to pursue the actual perpetrator, though they said they will try to do it", said the parents of another student.
Formal complaints have been filed by several parents with the Cyber Crime department after the incident. In a conversation with CNN-News18, the school administration said, "Such kind of actions creates disruption while an online class is in progress and upset the classroom environment. The government should urgently take necessary steps to strengthen the online safety and security and make these acts a clear criminal offence to protect students across the country."
While the Zoom app is being widely used to conduct professional meetings and classes for school students every day, it has also turned out to be enormously vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Recently, the National Cyber Security Agency even said, "Insecure usage of the platform (Zoom) may allow cybercriminals to access sensitive information such as meeting details and conversations. It also suggested that, “the Zoom software used for meetings, must be up-to-date and always set strong, difficult-to-guess and unique passwords for all meetings and webinars.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs also issued an advisory in April and said Zoom video conference is not a safe platform.