I attended a public lecture this morning on Zoom that was “bombed” and this was really traumatizing. I have heard of these incidences happening but this was my first time of witnessing it. The Cadre of the panelist and the institution hosting the lecture made it even more embarrassing.
The hacker also sent messages through the chat room that the email address and details of all attendees had been hacked. Though this incidence was curtailed quickly, the deed had been done.
Here are a few steps you can take to make your meetings more secure:
1. Disable private chat and turn off file transfers: This prohibits participants from private chatting with other participants or sharing any offensive files
2. Disable the annotation feature: Even if you limit screen sharing, bombers may draw offensive words or shapes over the host’s presentation using the annotation tool
3. Disable Join before host feature: This helps to ensure participants are not able to join the meeting before the host arrives thereby limiting the chances of your meeting being taken over.
4. Limit screen sharing to “host and co-host only”: This ensures only the host is able to share their screen.
5. Never use your personal meeting ID: Zoom assigns a personal meeting ID that is associated with each account. When scheduling a meeting, you can either use this personal ID or generate a random one. Always generate a random ID. If your personal meeting ID is leaked to the web, Zoom bombers are free to harass you whenever they please.
6. Restrict access to authenticated users: This ensures only people with a zoom account or on an approved list can join the meeting.
7. Use the waiting room feature: When you enable the waiting room for a Zoom meeting, each user who connects is put in a queue that the meeting host has to approve them from. This may be cumbersome and require a couple of people to manage depending on the size of the meeting, but it helps prevent any unknown or unwanted attendees from gaining access.
8. Use the webinar feature: The Webinar feature attracts an additional charge, but I find this the best to manage large meetings.
9. Create a special email: As a Zoom attendee, Never use your primary email to register for online meetings or anything online that will require you to provide your email address. You can create one email address strictly for this purpose.
10. Never input your phone number when registering for these meetings.
11. Be careful with opening documents shared during these online meetings.
12. Use your real name: Any attendee should use their name not just phone name or laptop name. This communicates your identity to other participants.
When hosting a public event, it is difficult to anticipate how these attacks will be orchestrated, but the more of the aforementioned security steps are applied, the less the probability that your event will be bombed.
Have any other tips to help with online security? Share in the comments.