A virtual meeting hosted by the Meteorological Services Department on the National Climate Outlook Forum (NACOF) was forced to end prematurely after hackers posted pornographic material on the platform.
Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary Mr Munesu Munodawafa apologised on behalf of the Government.
The virtual meeting was discussing the weather patterns being forecast for the next season as NACOF gives the main seasonal rainfall forecast.
“Soon after the Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister (Mangaliso Ndlovu) had finished presenting the annual weather forecast for the next season, which we were hosting by Zoom in line with the Covid-19 compliance issues. There was a person who pretended to be coming to ask a question, then unfortunately hacked the system,” said Mr Munodawafa.
“I want to apologise to everybody who was online because they regrettably then put adult material on that discussion by way of pictures, which were very disturbing and we sincerely apologise for what happened as a Ministry.
“It was totally embarrassing. We had to fight to bring it down. The person or persons were using a language, which we expect was outside Africa.”
While the Government could have been jolted by this unpleasant offensive glitch, the hacking shows that meetings are vulnerable to hackings. Mr Munodawafa called for the passing of the Cyber Security Bill into law to be expedited.
“I want to add my voice to those who are calling for the finalisation of the Cyber Security Bill. I think this is very important because increasingly people will be using ICTs for meetings.
“When things like this happen you will realise that we need extra sections (of the law), and people should think before doing such things,” said Mr Munodawafa.
Zoom bombing has been a problem globally, and Zoom is reportedly putting in place new security measures to prevent hackers. The Cabinet uses a far more secure system for its meetings, as do the international meetings now being held.