Zoom seems to have taken over our lives. We’re all flocking to the video conferencing platform to keep in touch, both for work and play. But the huge increase of users has highlighted worrying safety issues on a platform that’s struggling to cope. These are particularly concerning for young users using the platform for distance learning. In a worrying trend, hackers are breaking in to join Zoom meetings uninvited and then broadcasting inappropriate content – dropping a so-called ‘Zoom Bomb’. Only last week in the UK, hackers broke into a Zoom virtual classroom in Scotland and broadcast child abuse to 200 children and parents during an online swimming ‘training session’. Here are six steps you can take to stop the same thing happening to you:
#1 Enable a Waiting Room
When you’re hosting a Zoom call ensure ‘enable waiting room’ is selected. This means that you will be able to check that everyone who joins the call is someone you know and not an unwelcome guest.
#2 Manage Participants
Once the meeting has started you can hit ‘manage participants’ to move people from the ‘waiting room’ into the call. You can also mute or remove participants at any time.
#3 Play Chime for Enter/Exit
Another way to manage this is to toggle on ‘play chime for enter/exit’. This might be an easier system if you are in the middle of the meeting already and do not want to be disturbed mid-flow as it will allow you to hear that people are joining without having to admit them yourself via the waiting room system.
#4 Default Screen Share
One of the most dangerous aspects of Zoom meetings is that people who join can share explicit imagery with all the attendees, so ensure that you have ‘default screen share’ assigned to you, as the meeting host, so that those who join will not be able to post publicly.
#5 Lock the Meeting
Once everyone has joined the meeting you can ‘lock’ it, meaning that anyone who may have found access to the URL or passcode after the meeting has started will now not be able to join. If you know exactly who should be in the meeting, and you can see they’re all there, this is a perfect way to block hackers.
#6 Never post the passcode or URL online
Many different meetings are being hosted on Zoom; public yoga classes, family group chats, business meetings, or online lessons and all of those will have different levels of security. We strongly advise you not to post the details of the meeting link on social media or on a website, but only to distribute it in private and direct messages. Obviously that’s easy if you know the people coming and can contact them directly, but even if you’re offering a public service online you can still ask that people contact you as the meeting/event host via a direct message to get the meeting link, and control the access to prevent it being hacked.
Follow these steps to stay free of the threat of Zoom Bombs in your future meetings. And stay alert, as all these services become more commonly used during the pandemic, there will inevitably be more security issues, and more counter-measures introduced – make sure you’re up to date.