Coronavirus: Racist 'zoombombing' at virtual synagogue By Jane Wakefield Technology reporter

A synagogue service being held online has been hijacked by racist accounts which posted anti-Semitic abuse to congregants, the BBC has learned.

The meeting was being held on video chat app Zoom.

"Zoombombing" - where uninvited guests enter meetings - is on the rise as more people use the app to stay in touch during the coronavirus restrictions.

Experts advised people to secure meetings against intruders.

A BBC employee who attended the meeting at a synagogue in London explained what happened: "There were about 205 of us logged on - including lots of families with little kids - and suddenly the numbers went up to 243."

The group chat, which appears on the right-hand side of the screen, rapidly filled up with "vile abuse", she said.

There appeared to be only one uninvited guest on the screen, suggesting the rest of the accounts may have been generated automatically by one person.

"The rabbi didn't realise what was going on until one of the congregants texted him. By then lots of people had taken their children offline," the BBC was told.

"It was terrifying at what is a really terrifying time anyway," the BBC employee added.

Details of the meeting had been published on the synagogue's website.

"Communities advertising meetings like this are exposing themselves to all kinds of risks," said the BBC employee.

The synagogue's rabbi described the incident as being an "intrusive violation", and said it had been reported to the Community Security Trust and police.