Middletown, N.J. – Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (R-Monmouth) has introduced legislation which focuses on deterring and disrupting acts of “virtual bombing” as schools, businesses, governments, healthcare systems, etc. expand use of digital meeting platforms due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

"We have seen an unparalleled increase in the use of virtual meetings and technologies in the wake of COVID-19 which is likely to only increase heading into the fall,” said Scharfenberger. “This bill is designed to proactively defend against and increase penalties for hacking or virtual bombing of conferences in all forms.”

There is an underlying need to protect against digital attacks and crimes as usage of virtual conferencing is only likely to intensify heading into colder weather months. This pre-emptive approach will provide some assurances to businesses and other entities, in particular parents and teachers, that measures are being implemented to keep them safe:

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“There have been documented cases around the country of repeated breaches of security - from online classes to business meetings, nonprofit organizations and a host of others,” Scharfenberger continued. “The bill is designed to defend and assist users with the security of their intellectual property, personnel records and financial data.”

This bill goes one step further as it also seeks to increase penalties on individuals who knowingly share and expose children and students to pornographic/explicit materials during online classroom and educational sessions:

“Parents, teachers, and students should not have to worry about logging into virtual classes only to be exposed to inappropriate materials instead of their usual lessons – it is not only outrageous, but highly offensive,” Scharfenberger commented. “We must safeguard against it. The increase in penalties will go beyond just a nuisance and act as a real deterrent for those who illegally enter virtual meetings or online classes with malicious intent!”