Zoom, zoom, and zoom. Whether we like it or not, we have grudgingly become familiar with this bit of software, thanks to the lockdown all over the world. While technology is a wonderful thing, it does get into one's nerves, when you have to slug on through hours of zoom meetings, while yawning profusely. However, an 8-year-old managed to just go in through the entire Zoom ecosystem and turned it upside down to avoid school enforced "zoom" learning. While this caused several "why isn't this blasted thing working!" moment among the teachers, friends and family; she just casually laid back and watched it all go down in good fun.
The entire exploit of hers reads like a nice little detective novel unraveling itself in tweets by a tweet handle called Mike Piccolo, whose niece brought this wrath upon Zoom. So, buckle up.
Here It Goes
The premise is innocent enough; the 8-year-old niece of the user decided to pull a con to avoid school zoom classes. It started innocent enough, as she complained that she was not able to get into the Zoom classes. She simply couldn't log back in. Sounds plausible, right? Her mother wrote a letter to the teacher, informing that there's a hiccup and the niece gets a free day. Regular easy-peasy day.
The Crazy Kicks In
The drama starts when the next day it's a replay of the same thing. Zoom keeps on showing on the screen, "Incorrect password," "Try again", "Incorrect password." Several calls went up to the teacher, an hour spent trying to figure out what the problem was and then also the result remained the same- "Incorrect password."
The Internet is crazy, the IP is acting up. The yin and yang are not in sync, the universe is conspiring. When things go wrong in the computer all kind of thoughts crop up. So, the tweet handler's sister aka his niece's mom decided the sane thing would be to take the kid to the friend's place, try the computer there and pray this all sorts itself up. I know you know the answer but she takes her kid, goes there, turns on the computer, logs into Zoom, tries to get it running. What happens? "Incorrect password."
Big Guns Blazing
Now, the big guns started coming in. Zoom's tech support was brought into save the day, but they were out of any ideas or answers or tech magic-ky thingy on why it keeps on showing "Incorrect password." All they could offer was that the account was locked at some point. But that's a given because Twitter user's sister had been trying to get into the Zoom class from any device, she could find her hands on. Education is important and this Zoom will just not let her kid in!
Things were heating up. The teachers got proactive and decided to create the entire Zoom class from scratch. Everything was brand new, new log-ins, new calendar invites and all the jazz. This would work. This should work. There was no reason in the world that this would end up like the previous attempts.
Ahem! Here you go to all that wishful thinking. The niece and her mother tried to get in and there it was, again, "Incorrect Password" staring right back at them.
The computer teacher now made a house call, there was a lot of "debugging" and "fixing" that took place. The drama had now gone on for weeks. Now, it was the final showdown. 'We end this, right here! You hear me?' Sweat, keyboard cackling, and lot of exasperation later, this should work, right? Nope. There was "Incorrect Password" once again.
Internet 1, Humans 0
The twitter user's sister gave up, the computer teacher gave up and the school gave up; it's like the entire education system gave up. That's it! Until the school physically opens up again, the 8-year-old is getting homeschooled, decided her mother. They just accepted that there would never be an answer to why the Zoom didn't work, just like why the "Flat Earth Society" exists!
The niece had been a champ in this ordeal. She comforted the mom saying, "At least I get to help you around the house," Ahh, sweet kid!
So that's that. The niece was now in home school, she was helping around and if there was time, which there was a considerable amount now that the Zoom classes were not there, she was playing. In general, having a gala time. End of story? Well, there's the mystery that needs solving.
After a few days of homeschooling, the sister of the Twitter user sent her daughter to her friend's house, where due to some miracle this Zoom debacle appeared to be occurring less than their house. In that house, on that day, they logged into Zoom and it works fine. Whew! That's a relief. Finally! Okay, so it works here and not there. We'll never know why but at least, it works somewhere.
However, as the friend of the little girl's mother was walking around the corner, she noticed the niece was logging out of Zoom.
Suspicions rise. Is there a foul play at hand?
The mother's friend innocuously asked, why was she logging out? "Well, it wasn't working well, so I was trying to fix it," a harmless reply, but after all this drama, the thought of something being wrong intensifies. And sure enough, there's more than what meets the eye.
Now, the hide and watch game began. Now there was surveillance of the adults lurking outside of the kid's eyesight for something that might come up. After an hour, the little girl finally succumbed and logged out.
After logging out, she kept on typing in the wrong passwords over and over again. After a while, zoom clamped up.
The Perfect Crime
The niece of Piccolo had stumbled upon this nifty trick that if you try to log into Zoom with an incorrect password multiple times, what it does is lock your account for a set period of time. When you repeat the exercise again, the lock up period gets extended. Moreover, there's no way to catch this as the account notification, when you try to give the right password during the lock up period, doesn't show that "your account has been locked," instead it comes up with the message - "Incorrect Password."
For three weeks straight, an 8-year old girl had been successfully entering wrong passwords and getting her account locked, while multiple adults were stuck on why even with the right password, the system was showing - "Incorrect Password."
Fantastic? Yes. Diabolical? Maybe. A wowza moment for adults out there, who are still sitting there and pretending to be interested in long winding Zoom interviews? Definitely.
All said and done, give that kid a prize! She deserves it, no?
Here's the whole story in proud uncle Mike Piccolo's word: