During this time of social distancing, remote working and homeschooling, Zoom has quickly become one of the most popular teleconferencing platforms in the world. Thanks to its low barrier of entry and cross-platform capabilities, the video meeting software has come to the aid of millions in a time where staying digitally connected has become paramount.
Unfortunately, as with many things intended for good, there are users out there who are looking to take advantage of the meeting platform for their own, nefarious purposes. “Zoombombing” is the practice of finding links to public Zoom meetings and hopping into the room and sharing all sorts of inappropriate and disruptive content. With the ability to screen share in a meeting room, you can imagine what someone with malicious intent may throw up in a chatroom that’s filled with innocent students going over schoolwork or a group of employees attempting to have a private meeting. It’s very sad but alas, very true and with the exponential rise of online meetings as of late, it’s happening more frequently.
Thankfully, there are some measures that you can take to prevent your meetings from getting “Zoombombed.” Zoom has published a blog post to share some tips to keep your meetings secure and private in the hopes of keeping unwanted guests standing out in the cold. By default, a Zoom meeting’s link is public and all it takes is someone finding that link in a forum thread or perhaps a Facebook post and now they have access to your meeting. Here are some quick pointers from Zoom:
- When you share your meeting link on social media or other public forums, that makes your event … extremely public. ANYONE with the link can join your meeting.
- Avoid using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events. Your PMI is basically one continuous meeting and you don’t want randos crashing your personal virtual space after the party’s over. Learn about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID (at the 0:27 mark) in this video tutorial.
- Familiarize yourself with Zoom’s settings and features so you understand how to protect your virtual space when you need to. For example, the Waiting Room is an unbelievably helpful feature for hosts to control who comes and goes.
The quickest way to prevent others from sharing unwanted content in your meeting is to take control of who can share. As the host, you can go into your Zoom settings and navigate to the Basic In Meetings settings and disable screen sharing for anyone other than you, the host. This won’t make your room private but it will prevent any content from being shared that you don’t approve of.
If you’re looking for more security, Zoom offers a variety of options to keep your meetings private. In your settings, you can enable a two-factor authorization for your room and share the link wherever you like but only provide the password via private messages. You can also prevent anyone not logged into Zoom from joining your meeting. If you are using a Personal Meeting ID, it’s a good idea to enable a password requirement for that room as well.
Additionally, you can lock your room once all of the participants have arrived. Once your meeting has started, you can click the “participants” icon at the bottom of the screen and select “Lock Meeting.” This will prevent any new users from entering even if they have the link and meeting password. Just set a time for your meeting and let your users know that it will be locked after a certain time. If someone is late to the party, they can just message you privately to gain access. Then, lock the door again. Easy, peasy.
Zoom is a powerful tool and it’s great to see a platform that so easy to use with such a powerful free tier but now, more than ever, we need to be focused on web security and protecting ourselves and our kids online. If you are using Zoom for whatever reason, now’s a good time to take a look at your privacy settings and get that front door locked before someone crashes your party. You can find more best practice tips from Zoom here.
Source: Zoom Blog