'3 minutes of terror': Peninsula man becomes victim of racist, pornographic 'Zoombombing,' shares warning

MILLBRAE, Calif. (KGO) -- Racial slurs, pornography and overall menacing behavior. This is what a Peninsula man experienced when he held an online seminar for potential clients.

"When it happened I was dumbfounded and I can't forget those three minutes of terror," says Guno Sutiono, a financial planner from Millbrae.

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Guno holds webinars several times a week but during a recent one was caught off guard by several 'Zoombombers,' as they're known. These bombers are unwanted guests who enter public video chats and "bomb" the meeting with inappropriate images and speech.

What Guno experienced was so unpleasant, even we had a hard time blurring it out.

"They started to draw a lot of things and take over my screen and put obscenities, obscene language and nakedness and hate language. Finally I got overwhelmed and felt violated."

Unfortunately for Guno, who can command an audience of 70 or more during his seminars, he lost all of the potential clients who were participating.

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"I don't know how much damage these people are doing, to my business for example, so it's kind of sad."

With 40-percent of the workforce now working from home the use of video chat programs has skyrocketed during shelter-in-place. Zoom claims to have 300-million participants each day, up from 10-million before the pandemic.

Other video platforms like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet also report increased traffic, which, according to tech experts is the problem.

"This app was one of those things that definitely took off a little before it was ready and as a result there were a lot of things that happened where people were taking advantage of lax security." says Ian Sherr, editor-at-large for CNET News.

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Because prosecuting a Zoom bomber is challenging, being on the defense, says Sher, may be a users' best option.

"You can actually set it up so you can control who can see and who can't control the screen that's in the settings," he says. He continues to say being prepared to mute and kick out bombers can help.

Something Guno says he'll be ready to do next time, along with making his seminars private.

To learn more about ways to stay safe during any video conference call, CNET has provided more helpful tips here.

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