Johannesburg – A National Assembly meeting, hosted via the online streaming service Zoom, was brought to a halt on Thursday morning when the platform was hacked and pornographic images were broadcast.

The meeting was part of Parliament’s programming committee and was being chaired by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise.

As the meeting was set to begin members of Parliament (MPs), who had joined the virtual meeting at 9 am, were greeted with images of pornography and racial insults were hurled at Modise.

MPs expressed their disgust at the images that appeared and the meeting was halted by Modise as she called on technicians to help sort out the hacking incident.

Parliament resumed its work two weeks ago and most of its meetings have been conducted virtually using various online meeting platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft.

This was not the first meeting of Parliament hosted virtually that fell victim to a hacking incident. Last month a meeting chaired by the Minister of Women, Youth and Persons Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was also hacked with pornographic images being shown to MPs and other viewers.

As many meetings had been forced to go virtually due to the coronavirus, many organisations have used Zoom as a meeting platform. This has also seen various reports of the platform being vulnerable to hackers who have used it to spread insults and pornographic images.

Following growing concerns around hacking incidents, It was reported that Zoom was looking at boosting its security on the platform in an attempt to curb the rising incidents of hacking on the platform.


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By Zintle Mahlati