Over the last several weeks, the Toronto Police Service has noted an increase in reported occurrences involving the hijacking of virtual meeting spaces.
Active investigations of meetings being interrupted by uninvited guests who share hate-related content or child sexual abuse material are underway.
Sex Crimes D/Sgt. Paul Krawczyk said meetings are being hijacked in order to spread hateful messages or, in several cases, disturbing images.
"Horrible things are being said," he said, of references to racist rants. "Or child sexual abuse imagery or videos are being streamed alongside during the meeting, and, obviously it's very traumatizing for those involved."
He said people should be careful in how they publicize meetings and use security options available to you on various online meeting platforms.
For those organizing virtual meetings, the following steps are strongly recommended:
- If possible, do not make your meeting ID public
- Create a unique meeting ID for each session
- Require a meeting password that is known only by invited guests
- Preview meeting attendees in a virtual waiting room before having them join the session
- If possible, only have the host stream video and do not allow file transfers during the meeting
While these tips cannot guarantee the security of virtual meetings, it will be more difficult for anyone to interrupt the stream with traumatic and/or illegal content.
If you are the victim to any similar crimes, contact your local police service. If you are in Toronto, please call 416-808-2222, or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.