The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently sent a warning about video-teleconferencing (VTC) hijacking, also called Zoom bombing. The FBI said it received reports of conferences being disrupted by threatening language as well as pornographic and/or hate images.
The warning from the FBI addresses classroom disruptions, but Zoom users across the internet have experienced the incidents. This comes as more people are working from home using Zoom during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns taking place around the world.
Working from Home
The popularity of Zoom is in great part due to the mandatory work from home policies many companies have rolled out because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are trying to figure out how to work from home, communication is an important consideration. You are most likely using Zoom or another similar tool. Before you start holding meetings on these platforms, make sure to look through all the options the application provides to protect yourself.
A quality product will have tools for controlling different aspects of your meeting. If these options are not available, find an application that does. The time you take to find out what they are before you start will help you avoid any embarrassing moments as well as ensure the safety of your company.
What is Zoom Bombing?
In photobombing people jump into an image before someone takes a picture. In Zoom bombing uninvited attendees force themselves into a video conference. And once they are part of the conversation, they proceed to show unwanted images and videos.
If they were behaving it wouldn’t be a problem. But as the FBI points out, these individuals are showing pornographic images, hate content and language, as well as other inappropriate behavior.
If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you can be the victim of Zoom bombing. The good news is Zoom has outlined some measures users can take in order to stop these unwanted interruptions.
How to Prevent Zoom Bombing
Zoom is becoming the tool of choice for tens of millions of people around the world to work and play. And when events are being hosted in a public forum, there is always a chance bad actors will interrupt the fun and productive activities people are enjoying.
Zoom has multiple functionalities that allow you to control everything about each of your events. You can go to the video tutorials and find out all of your options here.
First familiarize yourself with the settings on Zoom. This is because they give the controls you need to stop unwanted intruders from interrupting your event. Next, don’t use your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events. Zoom says your PMI is basically a continuous meeting. Generate a random meeting ID for each event.
While those two steps will give you more control, Zoom is recommending for you to take the following steps to avoid Zoom bombing.
Manage Screen Sharing
Don’t give up control of your screen. Choose “Only Host” option when you set up your meeting and no one can post unwanted content in your event.
Manage Your Participants
You can control your guests by allowing only participants you choose to attend the events. But it doesn’t stop there. Some of the other options on Zoom include:
- Allowing only signed-in users to join — If they are not properly logged in with your invitation, they can’t join
- Locking the meeting — Once a meeting starts and you lock it, no one can join
- Setting up your own two-factor authentication — You can require a password to join your meeting
- Remove participants you don’t want — If someone is not behaving, you can simply remove them. You also have the option to let them back in the meeting
- Putting a participant on hold — Putting someone on hold disables their audio and video connections momentarily
- Disabling the video of a participant — Disabling the video lets you block inappropriate actions of content from being viewed
- Mute a participant — If you just want to mute someone and still continue with the video this is a useful option
- Turn off file transfer and annotation — Turning off these features stops participants from sending unsolicited pics, GIFs, memes, and other content
- Disable private chat — Disabling this feature prevents anyone from getting unwanted messages
- Waiting room — This is a staging area that lets your guests wait until you are ready for the meeting. This is also a great way to screen unwanted guests who are trying to get in
Zoom provides multiple ways you can protect yourself, friends, family and coworkers from unwanted intrusion. The key is to find out what these tools are so intruders can’t ruin your experience.