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Pornographic "Zoom bomb" ends Events SA health briefing

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A webinar organised by Events SA to brief local event operators on COVID-19 health requirements had to be abandoned yesterday after someone used the widely distributed Zoom log-in details to interrupt proceedings with hard-core pornography.

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Deputy chief public health officer Chris Lease was the headline speaker, but he faced several barriers before the organisers had to shut down the event.

First, Events SA didn’t have a Zoom licence for the number of participants keen to hear Lease’s presentation, so an expanded licence was hastily arranged to accommodate the more than 200 people wo wanted to join the webinar.

Once that was organised the webinar began, but Lease was only about 20 minutes into his presentation when the online event was overtaken by hard-core pornography and noise, which one participant said was like people shouting.

Organisers quickly shut down the afternoon event, apologised and promised to organise a new one.

An invitation to join the webinar, from SA Tourism Commission CEO Rodney Harrex, was published online, and included the Zoom meeting ID and passcode.

This indicates that the meeting was not strictly hacked, but rather “Zoom bombed” by someone who had gained access by legitimate means.

Events SA executive director Hitaf Rasheed sent a message to participants to apologise and promised to reschedule the webinar.

“Events South Australia this afternoon facilitated a free public webinar to assist the event industry with their forward planning for hosting COVID-safe events,” she said.

“Unfortunately the webinar, hosted on a public forum, was accessed by a third party clearly intent on disrupting the session. As soon as we realised the disruption could not be managed, we ended the webinar. Another dedicated session will be rescheduled for next week.

“For those people who were on the webinar, please be assured there is no security risk to your devices.”

The SATC invitation published online included the log-in details.

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