Zoom-bombers attack worshippers with child abuse images, ISIS propaganda during virtual Easter services

A church service in Houston was attacked by hackers who put gay porn and other highly inappropriate images up on the screen in front of almost 100 children.


                            Zoom-bombers attack worshippers with child abuse images, ISIS propaganda during virtual Easter services
(Getty Images)

Several families have been left traumatized after their virtual easter Sunday services were attacked by “zoom-bombers” who bombarded their screens with sickening child abuse images, porn, and ISIS propaganda.

The incident happened on April 12, when worshippers across the US and the UK attended online services via Zoom call owing to social distancing restrictions in place to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak.

However, they were “zoom-bombed” by sickos who put up slideshows online exposing churchgoers to a series of increasingly disturbing images, grotesque abuse videos, and ISIS propaganda.

Zoom-bombing or Zoom-raiding is the unwanted intrusion into a video conference call by an individual which causes disruption.

According to The Sun, a US church was holding services through Zoom when suddenly the services were disturbed by a gang of internet trolls who took it in turns to capture the screen, forcing images of child abuse upon parishioners.

Families attending another church service in Houston, Texas, also went through the same trauma as they were attacked by "some knuckleheads" who put gay porn and other highly inappropriate images up on the screen in front of almost 100 children.

Pastor David Fairchild said approximately 250 people were attending the service when the incident happened. He also noted that one-third of the attendees were children from the age of three to six.

The 51-year-old also tweeted about the incident as he said, "We started our Zoom call for our Good Friday service, with tons of family, lots of kiddos, and some knuckleheads hacked our call with gay porn. Please pray for the little ones, and for my sanctification. Had I caught who did it, I'd be doing Easter services in prison on Sunday."

Talking to The Sun, Pastor Fairchild said, “It’s the kids that are most impacted. You have to be fairly twisted to do something like that. It was frustrating and a bit of a shock because we had three to six-year-olds sitting with their families. Those are the ones I was most concerned for."

“We started the Good Friday call and had everyone there and were about to begin when they suddenly put up a bunch of these really nasty images and videos. They jumped in and Zoom automatically allows them to share their screen and post the videos and all that horrible stuff, but no one really thinks or knows to do something to stop that unless there’s a problem," the pastor added. "We heard from a number of friends from other churches in our group that it was happening to them too across the country.”

Pastor Fairchild also gave a piece of advice to the makers of the Zoom app as he said the company “really needs to change the default to stop that happening.”

“The security measures are bad on Zoom. My friends in the CIA and the FBI tell me that it’s the worst! It’s a great platform to use but the difficulty is that the settings need to be improved. We had to move quickly to make an adjustment to get it off. It took us about 30 seconds to a minute while the images were still on there. We now have a waiting room so I can admit whoever wants to come but can stop these people who want to do this. I feel like a bouncer – it’s the most power I’ll ever have!” he added.

However, the pastor also feels that the intruders should be forgiven as he mentioned, “It was just one of those things that happen. What struck me from this in the light of Good Friday and Easter was just the realization that if all my sins were broadcast then I would be toast too. If God can save me then I’m sure he can save a couple of knuckleheads that Zoom-bombed a Good Friday service."

The UK was also not left untouched by the "knuckleheads" as people attending a combined Good Friday service for all churches in Lambeth were shocked when they got hit by obscene pictures and videos. Jane Chelliah, Blogger and star of ‘Mums make Porn’, was also among the attendees. She said, “The service started at 11 am and after about 10 minutes it was hijacked by an image of a naked woman, then an emaciated man, porn, antisemitic and anti-Muslim images, video footage of ISIS and a screenshot giving instructions on how to ejaculate while watching porn.”

“These images happened in quick succession and in seconds. The vicar stopped the service otherwise I don't know what else would have been shown. It happened way too quickly but about 40 people on the Zoom service saw it. People logged on again and were quite shaken by the experience, including Reverand Chalke. I was too. You just don't expect this at a Good Friday service, the most important service in the Christian calendar, to be bombed by porn and hate messages,” she stated while showing her disappointment.

The 41-year-old added, “Online church via Zoom has been instrumental in keeping the Christian faith alive during this difficult time. The sad thing is that all Zoom services are now password protected, which means that those who aren't regular worshippers may be put off joining in."

After receiving complaints of the “zoom-bombing”, the company’s spokesperson said, “We have been deeply upset to hear about these types of incidents. Zoom strongly condemns such behavior and has recently made several updates to help our users more easily protect their meetings.”

The spokesperson also mentioned that the company has recently made security updates in the app. “The latest updates include adding a 'security' icon to give hosts easy access to several features in one place, including the ability to remove participants and lock meetings. Zoom is continuing to engage with all of our users on how they can best use Zoom and protect their meetings, and we encourage users to report any incidents of this kind directly to Zoom so we can take appropriate action,” the representative added.

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