An online conversation based at St. Bonaventure University in Olean was hacked Friday afternoon, as a so-called Zoom bomber posted racial epithets and swastikas on a PowerPoint presentation during the computer session.
"I can’t express strongly enough how outraged I am by the hate speech and imagery the members of our campus community had to endure -- and I’m a white man," said university President Dennis DePerro. "I can’t even comprehend how people of color in that conversation must have felt, especially when they came to the conversation hoping to start the slow process of healing."
DePerro said the online conversation was "with members of our campus community about the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor."
"We will make every attempt possible to identify the hackers," he continued in a statement. "If you were an employee, you’ll be terminated. If you were a student, you’ll be expelled. If it was an outsider, we will contact law enforcement."
The university's Office of Technology Services has conducted an investigation and submitted its findings to the Jamestown office of the FBI for further investigation.
The hackers were quickly removed from the session and three IP addresses were traced to locations in Germany, India and Macedonia. A Zoom staffer was able to trace an email address to a dot-com site known for phishing scams and using botnets, or internet-connected devices infected by malware that allow hackers to control them and hide their identities.