LUMBERTON — A New Jersey school district has suspended use of Zoom for its distance learning after a session was hacked and students saw pornographic images and heard racist language during a class session on Monday.

Lumberton schools Superintendent Joe Langowski in a letter to the district said someone hacked a Lumberton Middle School online class for about 15 seconds. The teacher and the co-host, who had been monitoring the waiting room feature in the classroom, immediately ended the session and notified administration, according to Langowski.

The person responsible for the hack was not a student at the school, Langowski said.

The incident was reported to police. The superintendent also suspended use of the program until it can be determined if future hacks can be prevented.

"We have worked tirelessly to develop a superior educational experience for the children of Lumberton in these most difficult times, but as always the safety of our children is paramount," Langowski said.

The district will continue to use Walther Learning Portal and Google Classroom in BRS and LMS, according to the superintendent.

Zoom has become a popular program used by schools and businesses because it allows users to participate a virtual video class or meeting using a laptop or an app. Sessions can be password protected to allow entrance but many are not.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Meetings have been hacked around the state. The April 8 Long Hills Township Committee meeting received more than 120 inappropriate text messages within two minutes, according to NewJerseyHills.com.

Music and cursing disrupted the Newton Town Council meeting on April 13, according to a New Jersey Herald report.

The FBI issued guidelines to avoid teleconference hacks:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
  • Ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

More from New Jersey 101.5: