Don't Get Zoombombed!

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

With the dramatic increase in online video conferencing, hackers have taken to joining some meetings uninvited. This seems to be specifically prevalent on the Zoom video platform, which is being heavily leveraged by businesses, individuals, public school systems and higher education during the pandemic crisis.

What exactly is Zoombombing? It's kind of like a photobomber, but not necessarily as cute. It's an uninvited guest who drops into your meeting and often shares some type of offensive content to disrupt the meeting. As a result of this new phenomenon, experts are advising that you should never post an online meeting invite publicly, especially not on social media platforms. Hackers are all over social media, harvesting information to do their dirty work.

There are also some settings you should check before hosting your next online meeting. Here are some recommended settings to help keep your meetings private and safe from Zoombombing:

Under Advanced Options when you create or edit a meeting:

  1. Uncheck "Enable join before host" in the meeting options to prevent anyone from joining the meeting before the host arrives. This way, nothing goes on before the meeting starts that the host isn't aware of.

  2. Consider enabling "Mute participants on entry" to prevent things from being said or overheard before you actually start the meeting. This also prevents things from getting too busy before you lay out the ground rules for the meeting.

Under your Profile, Settings, View Advanced Features (which takes you to Zoom in your browser):

  1. Consider enabling "Only authenticated users can join meetings" or "Require a password when scheduling new meetings" which will prevent an unwanted person from joining the meeting if they somehow find the invite link. Just be sure you communicate the password separately from the meeting invite.

  2. Consider enabling the "Play sound when participants join or leave" the meeting. This way, you know if someone comes or goes and if everyone is already there, it's a good indication a Zoombomber may be lurking. However, it may be annoying so experiment with this carefully.

  3. Turn off "File Transfer" so there is no possibility of any malicious content sharing.

  4. Turn on "Disable desktop/screen share for users" so that no one is able to share content from their device. You can always enable it for a particular participant that you want to be able to share something with everyone on the meeting.

  5. Also consider setting "Who can share?" to Host Only so no other meeting participants can inadvertently put something on screen for all attendees to see.

  6. Disable "Allow removed participants to rejoin" the meeting. This way, if you have to boot someone from the meeting, they can't sneak back in.

The rest of the settings are fine as they are, though you may certainly customize them to your liking. Have a productive meeting!