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Zoom is a video conferencing app. Zoom Bombing is a cyber attack on your video call where an individual or a group of people enter it without the permission of the host. These individuals then display offensive or explicit images in order to cause distress to the recipients.

During the Coronavirus emergency period, video conferencing is helping many people to work remotely and allowing us to stay in touch with our families and friends. Unfortunately as worldwide use of video conferencing increases, so has the reporting of cyber attacks .

The links in Related Information provide details of how to secure your Zoom meeting and prevent unwanted joining.

If you have experienced zoom bombing, this can reported to Zoom and depending on the nature of the content, your Local Police Force.


Chatrooms can be a fun past time for your children. However, there are some dangers in using chatrooms and both parents and children need to be aware of them. There is a government website which has a version for parents and children and which sets out the possible dangers of communicating with strangers online and how to make chatrooms a safer place to be. See Thinkuknow and related websites for useful information.

A few basic tips are:

  • Never give out any personal details;
  • Always be wary, some users on the internet are not who they say they are; and
  • Never arrange to meet anyone you have met through a chatroom unless you are 100% sure they are of your age and they are who they say they are. Even then, tell your parents, take them or another responsible adult with you and always meet in a public place.


People are being increasingly targeted by criminals via social networking sites such as Facebook.

You should be very careful about including any of the following personal information on your site:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Telephone numbers / email addresses;
  • Education / employment information;
  • Photographs which may show your home and any valuables you may own;
  • Date of birth;
  • Status updates / comments which may state when you are not at home, when you are going on holiday, what expensive items you have recently bought etc.

You should also be cautious about including 'friends of friends' in your privacy settings, as this effectively allows people who you do not know, to view your information. It is therefore advisable to allow only close personal friends and relatives to view your site.

Strangers who request you to add them as a friend could be lying about their identity. A person could pretend to be someone else (e.g. pretending to be of the opposite sex, or adults pretending to be teenagers) in order to persuade another person to agree to meet up with them, when they actually have criminal intentions.

Also, if you add someone who you do not know to your site, they may begin to ask you questions over time and aim conversations to particular subjects, in order to find out more information about you. If they already have your email address, they could log in to that account, using the information you have given them to answer your security questions, and reset your passwords. Once they have done this and have access to your personal emails, they could be gaining access to your bank details, online shopping accounts, paypal etc. and use these to take money from your accounts or buy goods in your name.

Simply, to remain safe, check your security settings, be vigilant as to what information you post, and only accept people to your site who you know well.

For further safety tips regarding social networking sites, please see the links in Related Information.


If a person sends threatening/abusive/offensive messages to another person via Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site, they could be committing an offence. The most relevant offences are 'threatening communications' and 'improper use of a communications network'

For 'threatening communications', the message would have to contain or imply a threat to carry out a serious violent act against a person or persons. This is a relatively serious offence and would not be used for messages that are abusive but do not contain any element of threats.

For the offence of 'improper use of a communications network', the message would have to be grossly offensive, obscene or menacing in character. This is a less serious offence and would cover messages that are abusive but not necessarily threatening.

If you have received any threatening/abusive/offensive messages via a social networking site, and believe that an offence may have been committed, you can report this to your local police force. The police will advise you whether they can progress the matter based on the full facts and your individual situation. However, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the messages, you may wish to initially make a report to Facebook/Twitter etc., as they have processes in place for such situations, and may be able to simply remove the content and/or close down the person's account.

Please see the links in Related Information for Facebook and Twitter's Community Guidelines in relation to dealing with harassment.


Depending on the exact nature of the information and how they have posted it (Have they sent the information to someone else? Have they posted it via their own account? Who has access to the information?), an offence may have been committed.

If the information is indecent, grossly offensive, obscene or threatening/menacing, then an offence relating to 'improper use of a communications network' or 'threatening communications' may have been committed (see Q770 for further information). The offence of 'improper use of a communications network' can also be committed where a person sends or causes to be sent any message that they know to be false.

If you believe that any of the above offences may have been committed, you can report this to Police Scotland by dialling 101. They will be able to confirm whether this is the case, based on the full facts and your individual situation.

If the information posted does not fall under any of the above offences, then you may wish to consider whether the person has committed the civil wrong of defamation (by publishing a false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation). However, this is a civil matter, not a criminal matter, and action would need to be taken through the civil courts. The police do not have any jurisdiction to assist with civil matters. You should seek legal advice from the Citizens Advice and/or a solicitor before taking any action regarding this.

Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the information, you may wish to initially make a report to Facebook/Twitter (before contacting the police/Citizens Advice/a solicitor), as these sites have processes in place for such situations, and may be able to simply remove the content and/or close down the person's account.