From Zoom to Zoombombing (How To Prevent)
*Updated April 23rd 2020*
Zoom is one of the most popular ways to stay in touch. Unfortunately, the default settings in Zoom could expose you to problems. Today’s post include the changes you need to make in Zoom.From Zoom to Zoombombing (How To Prevent)
Like everything on the internet, if it becomes popular, there will always be people who will try and take advantage for no good. For users of Zoom video conferencing they are the latest to get targeted. The name for it is called Zoombombing, and in today’s post we will go from Zoom to Zoombombing, including steps to protect yourself. From Zoom to Zoombombing (How To Prevent)
About Zoom – Video Conferencing
Do you work at a job where you have to have a lot of meetings, then over the past couple of weeks you probably have become familiar with Zoom. Even if you didn’t before, you may be having a lot of meetings now, and Zoom as it is the video conference standard for most people. I say that based on the fact that Zoom has added more users in the 3 months of 2020 vs all of 2019. According to CNBC, “The company added 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020, while in 2019 it added 1.99 million”.
If you aren’t familiar with Zoom, it is a video conferencing tool that allows individual users and groups to meet and work together without actually being in the same room. Zoom allows not only for video conferencing of multiple users, it also allows for features chat features that let you share/transfer files between users, and for screen share features that allow multiple people to work on a project together without being in the same room.
- The view if you have 50 users in a video chat. With Zoom it is possible to have as many as 300 users in 1 meeting.
- The view during screen sharing with Zoom.
For users of the Free Zoom Service you get
The features continue for those willing to pay for Zoom, but for many the free version covers more then enough of their needs.
The Issue Of Zoombombing
This is a crazy time, it feels more like a Quentin Tarantino movie then reality. If you said in 2019 that we would be going thru everything we are going thru with Covid-19 in 2020, you would be considered CRAZY!!! However the reality is what it is, and a term that users working from home are now learning is Zoombombing.
- Zoombombing – A new form of trolling in which a participant uses Zoom’s screen sharing feature to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes.
And like everything else on the internet, once something becomes popular, it also drawer the targeting from people who wish to cause trouble. In most zoombombing cases, users were faced with unexpected and unwanted messaging on screens and audio, that included hate speech and porn.
Using Zoom – Including Protecting Yourself From Zoombombing
Once you set up your zoom account, login, and from the zoom site take the following steps to protect yourself from Zoombombing.
- From the main page -> click on My Account on the top right and then you will see a number of choices on the left side of your screen, click settings.
– In the settings section make the following changes
Turn off Join before host feature. As the person running the meeting you don’t want any surprises, you want to see who joins after you join (start) the meeting.
Turn Off Use Person Meeting ID (PMI). The PMI ID is issued to a user when you create your account. If you want to have a single connection ID (PMI) number, then this is the number you use. This number never changes and can be used almost like your phone number. The problem with PMI is that like your phone number, if it gets into the wrong hands, you could get Zoombombers. Just like you get the calls on your phone about your car warranty or medical grade brace, etc. Its better to get a new ID number to connect to a meeting, for each meeting, so that your info can’t be used against you. Remember, you will be sending out an invite each time, so if the meeting ID number changes it will be shown on each invite.
Now as you keep scrolling down, in the section that asks about Requiring a password for scheduled and instant meetings, make sure you have that on. As a default, Zoom comes with password requirements off. If your zoom meeting number becomes known, and you don’t require a password to connect, you basically will allow anyone who knows the meeting ID to connect.
In the next section, look for the Require password for participants joining by phone and make sure that is also turned on. Again, passwords change each time you set up a new meeting, so even if your info gets out, the info while change for the next meeting. That way those who are Zoombombing can’t continue to attach you.
Now in the next setting, turn on Mute participants upon entry. One of the things Zoombombers did was play crude, and hateful audio as part of their attacks. If you turn this setting on, you as the host can control who can unmute themselves.
Almost done with the settings. The next setting you need to look at involves Screen Sharing. In this setting(s), you need to set both sections to Host Only. This will give you the host to control the screen, if you don’t change this setting, anyone who joins would be able to share their screen and anything that is on it without asking for permission. That’s how the Zoombombers attack.
Lastly, and this one should be especially important if you are setting up a meeting that includes people you don’t not know. Turn on the waiting room. With this function on, anyone who joins will need to wait for you to join and then for you to admit them to the room. That way you can have full control. You can choose to require everyone to go to waiting room, or only Guest Participants.
- What is the Guest Participant Only – Guest users who are not in your organization and users who have not signed in will be sent to the waiting room.
Like I said earlier, once you become popular online, you become a target. Zoom is now that target. We wish that Zoom had a better way to secure each account, but if you follow the steps listed above you should be fairly safe from a Zoombombing.