‘Zoom bombings’ Infiltrate JCU Classes


Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

Laken Kincaid, Staff Reporter

John Carroll University has been the subject of many cyber-hackings and reported “Zoom bombings” over the past week. Students reported that random people who are not enrolled at John Carroll have entered their virtual classrooms and terrorized the academic setting. 

These incidents have been reported a myriad of times both in virtual classrooms and during student organization meetings. Both professors and students alike are concerned about how instances like these will impact their academic career at JCU.

“When we first got pushed onto Zoom back in March, I’m not sure that the possibility of Zoom bombing was front-of-mind for people,” Jasen Sokol, a Communication professor at John Carroll told The Carroll News. “It certainly wasn’t for me. However, it only took a short time for reports to start coming out about things happening at various universities. At that point, I started to think about it as a possibility in my classes.”

“[The perpetrator] hacked into my class,” said Kallie Spirtos ’21 after her market analysis class was attacked. “Basically, he entered the class and was like ‘Hey is this marketing?’ and my professor was just asking him if he could direct him anywhere at all. The guy had a bad attitude, and I am pretty sure [he] lifted up his shirt before being removed from the class.”

“He was making racist, nasty comments,” Paige Pfieffer ’21 stated after a perpetrator entered her business ethics class. “He hacked into our class and was verbally abusive to everyone. He made fun of peoples’ last names and appearances. It was so bad.”

Although these events may seem as if they are obstacles during class time, many professors are “rolling with the punches,” according to Spirtos.

“My professor didn’t let [the attack] last long at all. He was really prepared for something like that and was very professional about it all. He continued teaching and did not let it deter him at all.”

“The only time I’ve been in a meeting that was Zoom bombed was during a webinar hosted by someone at another school who didn’t take the proper precautions,” Sokol said. “Someone got in and started shouting the N-word over and over again. When you think about how hateful some of the stuff being said is, you have to think about the impact that can have on students.

“I can’t speak to whether everyone took heed of those advisories or to anything that happened in a Zoom meeting that I wasn’t a part of, but I require a password for all of mine, and I have yet to have a problem,” Sokol said. “That said, we know hackers, Zoom bombers and the like are always looking for a weakness to exploit.”

The Carroll News has reached out to the IT department for input on these instances but has not yet received a response.