Schools, church groups, fitness centers, and live shows are all using Zoom to connect with their followers, but a new trend has cropped up: Hackers are now Zoombombing (also spelled Zoom Bombing) these events, dropping in to harass attendees with racist taunts, profanity, pornography and other hateful messaging. But fear not, because we have some simple steps to prevent Zoom hackers from Zoombombing your next virtual conference call.
First: Have Multiple Hosts
If you’re a professor, pastor or just someone who isn’t the best with tech, it’s hard to monitor a virtual room while running your meeting. The easiest option is to elect a second person (preferably someone who’s good with Zoom and/or technology) to be the meeting monitor. They can be made a host along with you and will be able to take action if it’s required.
How to Prevent Zoombombing
Here are the six steps you should take to prevent Zoombombing. Some are more extreme than others and may not be necessary for your gathering, but we think it’s good to have all the information here in one place.
1. Keep the Meeting URL Secure
If you have a smaller group, tell them not to share the meeting URL with anyone outside your specific circle. Meetings that are posted for the general public aremore likely to get hacked.
2. Use the Waiting Room
This feature allows meeting hosts to see participants in a virtual staging area before they are allowed into the meeting. A person can’t join the meeting until the host gives them the green light. If you have a larger group (say a class or church group) you may need to have someone monitoring the Waiting Room in case someone comes in late.
3. Email Check
Only allow participants to log into Zoom using the email address they were invited through. So, for example, if you invite your mom using her AOL email address, she can’t log into the Zoom meeting using her Gmail account.
4. Lock the Meeting
Lock the meeting once all invited participants have joined so no one else can jump in. This is located on the bottom right, where you have your list of attendees.
If you don’t want to lock a meeting because you’re hosting a public event, then keep the Waiting Room function running and have your helper closely monitoring it throughout the meeting.
5. Kick Offenders Out
Use the “remove” feature to kick off unwanted participants who do manage to join your meeting. This is why it’s smart to have someone actively monitoring the meeting so that they can kick out anyone trying to cause trouble.
6. Disable Audio/Video
As a host, you have the ability to disable visitors’ audio and video. If you have a gathering where no one needs to be seen or verbally participate, then do this. Even at a meeting where everyone behaves, a stray dog barking at someone’s home can overtake the audio and mask what the speaker is saying. But, if you have a Zoom hacker in the house, this setting can stop them from assaulting everyone else with their words and pictures.
This is a manual feature; your host will have to do it for every participant. However, if you do it as you allow each person into the meeting from the waiting room, it becomes and automatic step and doesn’t take much time.
7. No Public Links / Use Passwords
Similar to point #1, rather than using the same meeting link every week, generate a random Meeting ID when scheduling an event and require a password to join. While meeting IDs can be shared on social media, a user would need a password sent by the host using a direct message to actually join the meeting online. This can be cumbersome for large gatherings but works for smaller groups.
Get more info (though it’s somewhat hard to find) at the Zoom Help Center.