With most of us stuck at home during the global coronavirus pandemic, many of us are getting more familiar with online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Hangouts, Webex and others. These platforms have made it easier to be in touch with work, family and friends while we practice social distancing.
However, there is a new trend developing that seems to be impacting primarily Zoom users. It's called "Zoom bombing" and it's becoming more of a problem, especially for public meetings and conferences. For more about what Zoom bombing is and how you can prevent it, read on.
What is Zoom bombing?
It turns out a complete stranger can actually join your Zoom meeting or chat and create havoc. Those strangers are sometimes sharing images or using threatening or hate language. Imagine if your kids were on a school class on Zoom and suddenly the session was hijacked.
It’s gotten so bad that, as Newsweek reported, “the FBI has warned the public of the potential for ‘Zoom-bombing,’ after two schools saw their online classes get hijacked on the popular video conferencing app Zoom".
So how do you prevent this from happening?
We’ve seen a number of suggestions. The first is to restrict who can share their desktop. If you schedule a meeting from the web interface, you won’t see the option to disable screen sharing so do this instead:
- Click on “Settings” in the left-hand menu
- Scroll down to “Screen sharing” and under “Who can share?” click “Host Only”
- Click on “Save”
From a mobile device, you can tap the “MORE (…)” button in the bottom right corner and turn off sharing in “Meeting settings.”
You can also set up a waiting room. Go to “Account Management > Account Settings,” find the “Waiting Room” button and turn it on. This allows the host to only admit participants who are invited and weed out uninvited guests who will sit in the queue.
And finally, a Zoom spokesperson provided this:
“For those hosting private meetings, password protections are on by default and we recommend that users keep those protections on to prevent uninvited users from joining. We also encourage users to report any incidents of this kind directly so we can take appropriate action.”