Shock as online workout with Scottish swim squad hit with abusive content in “Zoom-bomb” attack

An online exercise class with Scotland’s national swim squad was invaded by “abusive content” as hundreds of adults and children joined the virtual workout during the coronavirus lockdown.

The incident happened during an event run by the country’s governing body for swimming which was hosted via the international video conferencing platform Zoom.

The event, which had around 300 attendees, offered the aquatics community the chance to train alongside the country’s top performance athletes and swim stars.

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Staff at Scottish Swimming said they were “devastated” by the cyber attack and insisted the matter was being taken “very seriously”.

An online workout session offering children and adults the chance to train with Scotland's national swim squad had to be abandoned after hackers posted "abusive content" during a session hosted on the Zoom video-conferencing platform

The organisation apologised on social media to subscribers and said the incident was being reported to police.

On Twitter Scottish Swimming posted: “Sadly our link for this morning’s Zoom workout has been compromised due to abusive content.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience and we will look to reschedule in the near future.”

In another post it added: “Scottish Swimming will ensure that additional security measures are in place for any future online meetings.

“Again, we are deeply sorry for anything Zoom guests were subjected to on this morning’s call.

“The matter will be passed on to the police.”

In an official statement, Scottish Swimming said: “Unfortunately the link was Zoom-bombed with disturbing content shared with circa 300 people that had signed in to the event.

“The video was immediately shut down and the incident referred to the police and their cyber-crime unit.

“We apologise to everyone involved and deeply regret the outcome of today’s event.”

The organisation said it would continue to support and engage with the swim community during isolation and had launched a full review of online tools and security measures to prevent similar incidents happening again in future.

The statement added: “At a time when the aquatics community was pulling together and supporting one another so positively, it is very upsetting to have a minority cause upset and distress during the lockdown.”

The group also gave out helpline information on Twitter for anyone affected by what they had witnessed.

Members of the public expressed shock and sympathy over what had occurred.

Alan Lynn said: “Such a shame that something worthwhile and good for the swimming community has been attacked by detestable hackers with no concern for decency.

“Crawl back into the cesspit you came from and leave us alone.”

Graham Wardell said: “How despicable. Some people really have no humanity or decency.”

Fiona Philip added: “I could cry for the kids who were so happy to get a spot but well done for acting quickly.”

The 30-minute session offered the chance to train alongside Scotland’s national swim squad.

Advertising the event, Scottish Swimming said: “Not only is this an unique opportunity to train next to some of the world’s best, it’s a great chance to improve your physical and mental well-being - whether you’re a swimmer, diver, water polo player, synchro swimmer, coach or parent.”

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