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Singapore BANS teachers from using Zoom after lessons get ‘porn-bombed’

Singapore BANS teachers from using Zoom after lessons get ‘porn-bombed’
Singapore has ordered educators to stop using the video chat program Zoom after hackers ‘spiced up’ school lessons with pornography. The move comes as the app’s security woes led to a ban by NASA and others.

In one recent incident, a student’s mother said hackers commandeered a Zoom stream, posting obscene images in the chat before asking girls in the class to “flash their chests,” according to a local report. The episode is one among many similar security breaches reported recently, which are on the rise as students in the former British colony and around the world are forced to learn remotely due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions and school closures.

“These are very serious incidents,” said Ministry of Education official Aaron Loh, referring to two recent cases of hacking in Singapore. He added that the agency “is currently investigating both breaches and will lodge a police report if warranted.”

Though Loh said teachers had been given security guidelines to follow, asking that they not share meeting links with anyone but students and requiring secure log-ins to access the chats, the hacking has continued unabated, prompting the ministry to temporarily ban the program altogether.

As a precautionary measure, our teachers will suspend their use of Zoom until these security issues are ironed out.

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Home-based learning will continue in Singapore, however, with teachers using a variety of tools besides the notoriously insecure Zoom program, which has already been banned for official use by Taiwan, the German Foreign Ministry, the US space agency NASA, as well as for employees of Google.

As the coronavirus pandemic pushes greater numbers of people to convene virtually, privacy concerns have arisen as well. ‘Zoom bombers’ – the name given to the app’s profanity and nudity-obsessed hackers – are far from the only thing plaguing big tech chat apps. Apple’s video chat platform, FaceTime, was shown to have its own privacy issues last year, with a technical glitch allowing callers to listen in on recipients before they answered calls. Other options, such as Google Hangouts and Skype, lack end-to-end encryption, itself a significant security loophole.

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