Human beings have always been practical jokers — but some jokes can actually have serious legal consequences because of their potential for serious physical or economic harm to others.

“Zoombombing” is the latest practical joke that’s drawing attention from the authorities. If you’re not familiar with it, Zoom is an electronic platform that is designed for conference calls. It’s become especially important as more Americans than ever are working and attending school from home.

That’s probably why it didn’t take long for someone to figure out how to hack into and control a public or private conversation. Called “Zoombombing,” the hackers then disrupt the electronic meetings with a barrage of disturbing, often pornographic content. Sometimes specific groups of people are also targeted this way for harassment campaigns in coordinated attacks.

Well, prosecutors in many areas say that they intend to investigate. If they trace the sources of any cyber attacks on the platform, they’ll aggressively pursue charges.

What kinds of crimes can you be charged with for Zoombombing? Consider these:

  • Using a computer to commit a crime
  • Hate crimes (depending on your targets)
  • Fraud
  • Disrupting public meetings
  • Pornography charges (depending on the content you used)
  • Transmitting threatening communications

That’s probably just for starters. Federal prosecutors are experts at tacking on one charge after another in creative ways to give themselves maximum leverage and clout. Many of these charges are felonies, so that means jail time and stiff fines if you’re convicted.

Don’t ever assume that your electronic prank will go unnoticed just because there’s a lot of things going on in the world. The internet is a much smaller place than most people realize. If you made a mistake and are charged with an electronic crime, get experienced legal help right away.

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