“Zoombombing” – What is it?
You may have heard the term “Zoombombing” in the news lately. Zoombombing is a new form of trolling in which an unwelcome participant uses Zoom’s screensharing feature to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes. To be clear, Zoombombing is not unique to Zoom – any conferencing service is susceptible to this prank if the meeting is not secured. Below are some suggestions for preventing unauthorized users from accessing Zoom meetings, or for generally securing your meeting that may contain sensitive information.
This document covers both in-meeting controls and account-level settings, which would affect all meetings you schedule going forward. For account-level settings, you will need to access the online profile to view or change. To do so:
- Accessing the Online Profile:
- On the Web: Go to Zoom main page, click on “Sign In”.
- Through the App: In the Home page of the Zoom app click on the Settings/Gear icon in the top right of the window. On the General tab of the Settings page, click “View more settings” at the bottom of the window.
- Once you’re in your online profile, click on “Settings” on the left to view the available account settings.
- Be cautious when using your Personal Meeting ID
- When you schedule a meeting, you can choose to use your Personal Meeting ID or have Zoom generate a random ID. Your Personal Meeting ID never changes – which means that others could save that information and join a meeting at a later date. We strongly recommend using the default “Generate Automatically” option, which creates a random link to your meeting. If you switch to the “Personal Meeting ID” option, anyone seeing that link can take note of it and use it to pop in and out of your meetings at any time in the future.
- Add a Meeting Password
- When scheduling a meeting, you have the option to add a Meeting Password. This password is included in the email link that is generated and sent to attendees. This may seem silly, but it is only intended to keep anyone other than those you invite from joining the meeting.
- When dialing in to a password-protected meeting, you would not need to enter the password if you entered a Participant ID to link up with your Laptop zoom session.
- Lock the Meeting
- Once a meeting has started and your intended participants have joined the meeting, you can Lock it. When you lock a Zoom Meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join, even if they have the meeting ID and password (if you have required one).
- In the meeting, click Participants at the bottom of your Zoom window.
- In the pop-up, click the button that says Lock Meeting.
- Be aware of Screen Share Options in the Meeting
- Our Zoom In-Meeting settings at the account level are set to allow all participants to share. Giving attendees the opportunity to share their work is a powerful feature of Zoom. However, you can make fine-tuned adjustments within meetings when it is not appropriate for others to share.
- To check your account settings, choose Settings on the left, and then select In-Meeting (Basic) and scroll to Screen sharing.
In-Meeting Screen Share Settings In the Zoom toolbar, select the caret next to Share Screen
- In the Advanced Sharing Options window, review these options:
- How many participants can share at the same time?
- One participant can share at a time will prevent multiple people from attempting to screen share at once.
- Who can share?
- Only Host will only allow the host to share content
- When you get to a point in your meeting that you want attendees to share, you can return to the same Advanced Sharing Options and adjust the settings.
Mute All Participants To avoid having unwanted voices speak at inappropriate times, follow these steps once you have started the meeting:
- Select the Manage Participants button in the Zoom toolbar
- At the bottom of the Participants window, select More
- Choose Mute Participants on Entry
- Deselect Allow Participants to Unmute Themselves
Attendee Annotation Annotation is a feature of Zoom that lets participants in a meeting mark up a screen-sharing session. Think of it like a dynamic digital whiteboard. That means attendees will be able to annotate on your shared screen at any time, which could be abused or unwanted given the type of meeting you are running.
To Disable Annotation: Log in to Zoom
- On the left, choose Settings
- Select In-Meeting Basic
- Scroll to Annotation. Annotation is enabled by default, that means attendees can annotate on your shared screen.
While this feature can be great for collaborative activities, you can easily deactivate the feature within a specific meeting as well, but only once you have begun to share your screen. Follow these steps:
- Share your screen
- Click More in the screen share controls
- Select Disable participants annotation
If you wish to encourage attendees to annotate your shared screen, simply re-enable the feature by following the same steps.
Don’t Click Untrusted Links in the Chat Window Just as with any email, avoid clicking links in the chat window unless you know explicitly what they are and who is providing them. Malicious links could lead to your device or account being compromised and personal information stolen.
Enable the Waiting Room Feature Just like it sounds, the Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you’re ready for them. When this is enabled, participants joining your meeting will first be put in the Waiting Room until you specifically allow them to join the meeting. If someone tries to join that you are unfamiliar with, you can decline to let them in the meeting.
Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control, and you can even personalize the message people see when they hit the Waiting Room so they know they’re in the right spot. This message is really a great spot to post any rules/guidelines for your event, like who it’s intended for.
What To Do If Someone “Bombs” your meeting
If a disruptive, uninvited attendee appears in your meeting, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. Focus on managing the situation, as opposed to engaging with the individual. Follow these suggestions:
To stop unwanted screen sharing:
Share your own screen. You are the host and you may take screen sharing over from attendees.
To stop unwelcomed webcam video or sounds:
- Select the Manage Participants button in the toolbar.
- Locate the person’s username (which will also be at the top of their video).
- To the right of their name, mute their webcam and/or microphone.
To remove the person from the meeting:
- Next to the person you want to remove, click More.
- From the list that appears, click Remove. Once you have removed someone from the meeting, they will be unable to re-join.
- For an added layer of comfort, you may consider Locking the meeting. But doing this would prevent your own attendees from entering.
- Select the Manage Participants button
- In the Participants window go to the bottom and select More
- Choose Lock Meeting