8 Security Settings You Should Use to Prevent “Zoom Bombing”

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8 Security Settings You Should Use to Prevent "Zoom Bombing"

Have you heard of “Zoom-bombing?” If you’re like most people, you hadn’t run across the term until recently. It’s become an unpleasant phenomenon due to IRL (in real life) meetings for everything from government cabinet meetings to online classrooms being moved to video conferencing tools like Zoom.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the use of cloud solutions like video meeting apps to skyrocket. Those face-to-face virtual meetings are a welcome connection to the outside while everyone is “sheltering in place” at home to reduce the spread of the virus.

Zoom is the most popular online meeting software with over 40% of the market share. There are several other tools out there as well for online meetings, like Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting.

But due to the popularity of Zoom, it’s not only at the center of this new IT security issue, the problem was named after the software.

So, what exactly is Zoom-bombing?

It’s when someone that isn’t invited “gate crashes” an online video meeting for the express purpose of causing disruption.

Recent incidents that have been in the news globally, including classroom sessions interrupted by racial epithets being shouted and company group meetings having unwanted images shared by an interloper.

Zoom-bombing happens when an online video conference isn’t properly secured to keep out people who shouldn’t be there.

Here’s How to Secure Your Online Meetings

Zoom and other video conference software companies have been racing to add additional security measures to their tools to prevent unauthorised meeting attendees. For example, Zoom removed the meeting ID from showing at the top of the screen (something that had been inadvertently shared in screenshots).

But, it’s really up to the meeting host to ensure their meeting space is secure. Here are the settings you need to be aware of to avoid becoming a victim of Zoom-bombing.

Use a Password

One of the most basic settings is to add a password to your meeting. This will ensure that anyone who has found the meeting ID can’t get in with only that.

It’s been a common habit to just leave meetings open without a password to make it easier for everyone to join, but with the increased popularity of Zoom-bombing, a meeting password is now a “must have.”

You want to make sure you guard the password and don’t post it in public places, such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

Use the Waiting Room Feature

Another safety feature that’s often been overlooked is the meeting waiting room. When setting up your meeting you want to only allow the host (you) to go into the meeting and bypass the waiting room.

Everyone else will stay in the waiting room until you give them permission to enter. This allows you to keep out any user you don’t recognise.

Only Allow the Host to Screenshare

Some Zoom-bombing incidents end up with the perpetrator taking over the screen with the screensharing tool and showing inappropriate content.

You can keep that from happening by setting screensharing to “Host only.” No one else can share their screen unless you give them permission during the meeting.

Generate the Meeting ID Automatically

When you use Zoom, you get a Personal Meeting ID which remains the same for every meeting. That’s handy if you meet with colleagues often, but not so great for back to back meetings or to avoid Zoom-bombing.

To ensure better security, you want to click “Generate Automatically” under the Meeting ID area of the meeting scheduling window. This ensures the meeting ID is unique for each video conference.

Use Mute Participants on Entry

You can mute all meeting participants as they enter the meeting. This helps you avoid an unauthorised person coming in and shouting obscenities to disrupt a meeting.

The host can unmute the participants as they choose to.

Make Sure Removed Participants Can’t Rejoin

In the settings area of your Zoom meeting, you want to toggle off a setting that says, “Allow removed participants to rejoin.” This will ensure anyone you’ve booted out can’t try to get back into your video meeting.

Lock the Meeting Once Everyone is There

You can put a lock on your meeting that keeps everyone out. This is akin to locking the door to a conference room to ensure your meeting isn’t disturbed.

Once all participants have joined the meeting, click “Manage Participants,” and look for the “More” link. You’ll see a lock that you can click to lock the meeting. Once it’s locked, even those with the password can’t get in.

Set Video to Off When Participants Join

You can gain an extra few seconds of recognition time when you set up your meeting to have video off when participants join. They can turn their video on once inside, but it won’t be on automatically.

Those extra few seconds can give you the time you need to see there’s an uninvited participant and remove them from the meeting before they can turn on their video.

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