Twitter hacker's virtual trial 'zoom bombed' after ID leak


The virtual hearing for the trial against a teenager accused of July's mass Twitter hack was cut short on Wednesday after the meeting was hijacked by members of the public.

Prosecutors were in the midst of deliberations over the alleged involvement of a 17-year-old teenager from Florida when their conference call was hijacked by a series of interruptions, including 15 seconds of a porographic clip, according to Krebsonsecurity.

The teenager is thought to have orchestrated the 15 July hack on Twitter, which led to the compromise of a number of high profile accounts. His bond hearing with the Hillsborough County criminal court was held via videoconferencing service Zoom, which has been plagued by security issues throughout 2020.

A notice of the hearing was available via public records, which included joining details and the session's identification number. In a practice known as 'Zoom bombing', unauthorised users are able to make use of this information in order to repeatedly join a call and interrupt the meeting taking place.

"Less than a minute had passed before one attendee not party to the case interrupted a discussion between the attorney and the judge by streaming a live video of himself adjusting his face mask," Brian Krebs wrote. "Just a few minutes later, someone began interjecting loud music."

Jude Christopher Nash, who presided over the hearing, was also "clearly" in charge of administering the video stream, according to Krebs. When the prosecution was interrupted by 15 seconds of the random conversation of an unauthorised guest, Nash reportedly told the participants he was removing the troublemakers as quickly as possible.

What happened next was quite common at the beginning of the year, when the first reports of Zoom bombing first surfaced. One of the unauthorised guests streamed a graphic video clip from Pornhub for roughly 15 seconds. Judge Nash then abruptly terminated the meeting.

Zoom has taken steps to prevent participants from hijacking meetings with settings that hide its information and capabilities to eject unwanted participants, but those settings were not fully used in this case.

The teenager on trial is accused of illegally gaining access to some 130 Twitter accounts, targeting the likes of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. It's believed 36 inboxes were also accessed during the hack, which led to the theft of data from seven accounts, according to Twitter.

Despite the disruption, the Judge ruled not to change the defendant's bail conditions.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

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