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Crashing the Zoom-bombers’ party: fighting online meeting disruptions on Zoom

Image source: theburnin.com 2 mins read

You know when gatecrashers attend a party uninvited, they may be there to have fun and no one usually gets harmed, inconvenienced much. Not so with malicious Zoom bombing. 

Zoom bombing happens when uninvited participants appear in Zoom meetings and try to interrupt the meeting. This often happens when meeting links or logins are made public, permitting entry to anyone who bothers to click on that link or use those login details.

Unlike the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, when people were forced to migrate to online applications like Zoom to assume some semblance of in-person interaction, which in turn resulted in many security breaches like Zoom bombing, many security measures have now been put in place to curb the disruption of online meetings when using the Zoom application. This was necessary as more and more people sought to exploit the application and cause disorder in people’s meetings.

Here are some suggested ways to avoid and fight mischievous intrusions:

First, ensure to avoid sharing meeting links with the public. Share only with people who are meant to attend and request that they refrain from sharing such notice with others.

How to prevent Zoom-Bombing into online-sessions

  • Ensure your Zoom app is up to date at all times. This will provide you with all new security options. 
  • Add registration for participants to input email addresses that are linked to Zoom.
  • Don’t use your Personal Meeting ID(PMI) for meetings. The PMI is basically an unending meeting room that you can use for meetings. Anyone with this meeting ID or link can join and leave at any time. It is important that you generate new meeting IDs for specific meetings and totally avoid using your PMI for general meetings. 
  • It is advisable to protect your meetings with a password.
  • In some cases, you may want to enable the waiting room and opt to disable the ‘Join Before Host‘ option to prevent people from getting into such meetings before the host is available. This will help the host to control who comes into the meeting.

So it’s too late, your session has started and the bombing attacks have commenced. What do you do? 

  • Available to meeting hosts are the in-meeting security controls. These controls allow the host to change participants’ permissions. For instance, the host can choose at a go, to suspend all participants’ activities like in-meeting chats, renaming, muting or unmuting, hiding or showing profile pictures, etc. The host through this means can also lock the meeting to prevent new people from joining. These controls can be accessed by clicking on the security icon in the Zoom applications control. 
  • Disable screen sharing for participants. This will prevent people from taking over displays during sessions. This can be activated during meetings that enable the in-meeting controls. Ensure bombers cannot hijack your display by selecting Who can share? > Only Host from the meeting options. 
  • Remove participants from the meeting by sending them to the waiting room or completely removing them. This will only be effective if the waiting room is enabled or when the meeting has been locked. To send to the waiting room, click on the person’s video thumbnail or hover over their name in the participants’ list, click on the “More” menu button, and select “Put in Waiting Room.”

Zoom has released an extensive security manual titled, “Best Practices for Securing Your Zoom Meetings. Everything you need to keep your video meetings safe and secure,” which provides detailed instructions for the application users to ensure optimal security.

Roselena Ahiable is a Senior Researcher with Dubawa Ghana. Roselena has years of demonstrated work experience in advertising, sales and marketing, having worked with some of the leading brands in Ghana. She has completed a Master of Philosophy programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, with specialisation in Public Relations and Advertising. She has also received advanced training in print and broadcast journalism. Roselena also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana. As a trained journalist with interest in research, Roselena provides the team insight in news and media trend analysis.

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