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Utah investigating hacking of candidate’s virtual event

Utah investigating hacking of candidate’s virtual event

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The Utah Attorney General’s Office is investigating the hacking of a video call hosted by a gubernatorial candidate who saw the call hijacked by pornographic images and racial slurs on Thursday.

Republican Aimee Winder Newton was about five minutes into the virtual event on the Zoom platform when the trouble began as all 130 state delegates on the call were unmuted, said Caroline Bena, a spokeswoman for the campaign.

The call was hosted on a Utah GOP account, but hacker disabled administrative control, so the moderators were unable to stop the images when they began flashing on the screen, Bena said in an email message.

Winder Newton and running mate John Dougall ended the call and switched to Facebook Live, where she completed the event.

Two investigators have been assigned to figuring out what happened and stopping it from happening again, said Rich Piatt, a spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s office.

Like many schools, businesses and political campaigns, Winder Newton was using Zoom to connect with party delegates remotely since large gatherings have been prohibited in hopes of stopping the spread of the new coronavirus.

The company and state party did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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