Think Zoom Bombing Is Funny? It Could Get You Arrested

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerFirst, there was the term 'photobombing,’ and now there is a new phrase floating around called ‘Zoom bombing,’ While hackers, like those that intrude into photos when they are not welcome, may think that these hijinks are funny, they are actually a crime. And because it involves computer technology, it is considered a federal offense. These crimes come with serious penalties and could have lifelong impacts on those convicted.

What Is Zoom?

Zoom is a cloud-based video service that allows you to meet virtually with other people. Like Skype and FaceTime, it allows people to talk to each other while also being able to see them. When using Zoom, a person can make conference calls in which several people can be included in the conversation and see each other all at once. Many people that work at home use Zoom, as it does not require physically being in the same location. In 2019, however, over 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies reportedly used the platform.

What Is Zoom Bombing?

Like photo bombing, Zoom bombing involves an unknown third party barging into the conversation. The individuals that were originally part of the video conference may not even realize that someone else is listening in. Sometimes, the tactics Zoom bombers use are relatively harmless, such as scribbling all over the screen. Other times, a Zoom bomber’s actions may be more malicious. They may show inappropriate materials, such as pornography, or they may shout racial slurs.

Although Zoom bombing has gotten a lot of attention lately, it does not only happen on that platform. Microsoft Groups has also had its share of conference bombing, and Skype has also had problems with hackers. When this happens, it is important to know that even if offensive materials are not being shown, individuals could still be charged with a federal offense.

Penalties for Zoom Bombing

According to USC 18 part 1030 of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Zoom bombing, or any type of hacking, is a federal offense. The penalties associated with this crime are severe. A person convicted of hacking could face up to ten years in federal prison, depending on the facts of the case. When the crime is considered a misdemeanor, individuals may also face a maximum fine of $100,000, while convictions for a felony offense carry a maximum fine of $250,000.

Sometimes, hackers do not only intrude on a conversation. Due to the fact that the other parties are not always aware of the hacker’s presence, they can listen in on conversations and use any information they learn to blackmail a person. When this is the case, individuals may face additional charges with penalties that are just as harsh.

Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Here to Help

Not every one that Zoom bombs has malicious intentions, but that is not a defense for those facing charges. If you have been charged with this federal offense, call our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel. Attorney Garfinkel knows how to defend against hacking charges and will do so to give you the best chance of beating the charges. When you need experienced legal help on your side, call us at 312-629-0669 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.


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