With people across the globe now working from home, Zoom has become almost a must-use for those who need to attend teleconferencing meetings for business. Of course, with that rise in popularity for the tool comes the inevitable abuse that goes along with market share.
One new trend that has plagued Zoom meetings is called “Zoombombing” It’s become so popular online that users gather in communities to share Zoom conference codes and “hire” Zoombombers to jump into meetings and insult attendees, play pornographic (or other offensive material), and even make death threats.
The issue has become so bad that Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan, not only placed a freeze on all new features for the service, he also promised to have the solution addressed within ninety days, stating “Over the next 90 days, we are committed to dedicating the resources needed to better identify, address, and fix issues proactively.”
Later on, Yuan offered a public apology, when he said, “We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry…”
Although Zoom has taken steps to alleviate the problems and rebuild trust, Zoombombing still persists. It doesn’t matter if you work for a software development company such as BairesDev, or if you’re part of middle or upper management to a retail giant, your Zoom meetings could still be “Zoombombed.”
How do you avoid this? Let’s take a look at a few possible solutions.
Use a different platform
The first thing you should consider is migrating your teleconferencing needs to a completely different platform. One possible option is using Nextcloud Hub. With Nextcloud now partnering with German hosting provider IONOS, it is now possible to purchase a hosted instance of Nextcloud Hub, which includes video chat and more.
If you’d rather stick with a known commodity, you can always opt for Google’s Duo or Hangouts. Duo is fine for small meetings (around four attendees), whereas Hangouts is suited for larger meetings. One thing to consider when selecting these platforms is that at the moment many such teleconferencing tools are experiencing serious bandwidth issues. Because of this, Duo might be the better option for meetings with low attendance. Save Hangouts for those meetings with more people.
If neither of these solutions will work, and you must remain with Zoom, there are some things you can do to prevent your meetings from being “hacked.”
Managing your attendees
One of the first things you need to do is control your attendees. Fortunately, Zoom has recently taken an important step in helping you out with that. Said step is placing all new attendees in a waiting room. This is an isolated location, away from the actual meeting. Once an attendee arrives, they are placed in the waiting room and can’t actually join the meeting until the host allows them in.
The waiting room should be considered a must-use for all of your Zoom meetings, as it allows you (the host) to allow users into the meeting, one at a time. By doing this, you can ensure those within the meeting actually belong in it.
To make sure the waiting room feature is enabled, start a meeting and click Manage Participants from the main window. From the Participants sidebar, click More and make sure to Put participants in waiting room on entry.
You should find that feature already enabled by default. Because of this, you will have to allow each attendee entry into the actual meeting.
But what happens if some ne’er do well does manage to slip out of the waiting room and into the meeting? If you’re discussing sensitive subjects with application development companies, you certainly don’t want someone privy to that information. What can you do? The first thing you do is to immediately click the Mute All button, which will prevent anyone from being heard. Next, you can click the unwanted username, click More, and then click Remove.
Lockdown your meetings
The single most important thing you can do to protect your meetings is to lock them. Once a meeting is locked, no one else can enter. This is actually quite easy to do with the Zoom desktop client.
After you are certain every participant is in attendance, and every attendee should actually be there, go back to the Participant Manager sidebar and click More in the bottom left corner. From that dropdown, click Lock Meeting.
With a meeting locked, you can be sure no one else will sneak in and wreak havoc.
Until Zoom resolves their security issues, you can’t take your meetings for granted and assume no problems will arise. In fact, you should approach all Zoom meetings with the understanding that security is on your shoulders. But with these few simple tips, you should be able to enjoy your Zoom meetings without having to worry about Zoombombing.
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