Zoom has become one of the most essential virtual conferencing tools to maintain social distancing and is used by millions of users daily for remote work and online learning. Before you host a Zoom meeting, take some simple steps to prevent security mishaps.
Risks associated with Zoom
- Anyone with the meeting link can join the meeting, so avoid sharing the link unless it’s a public event.
- Refrain from using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events, as it would allow anyone to connect with you when the event is over.
- Paid subscribers can record the meeting including its text transcription and any active chats and save it to the cloud where it can be accessed by other users. Online meetings can also be recorded by using a third-party tool.
- Zoom sends user analytics data to Facebook, even if you don’t have a Facebook account.
- Zoombombing refers to a situation when an uninvited person joins a Zoom meeting and shares unwanted content during the meeting.
Before you host a meeting
Turn on the Waiting Room
The Waiting Room is enabled by default. This feature provides a virtual waiting room for your attendees and allows you to admit individual meeting participants into your meeting at your discretion. Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control, and you can even personalize the message people see when they hit the Waiting Room so they know they’re in the right place. This message is the perfect place to post rules or guidelines for your meeting.
Turn off Allow participants to join before host
This is to prevent participants from joining or interacting before the host enters and ensures the host can monitor everything before any participants can cause trouble.
To turn this setting off, scroll down until you see the Schedule Meeting section and the Allow participants to join before host option.
Assign a co-host
Enable a co-host who can help to moderate the meeting. The co-host should be someone you trust to assist you with the virtual meeting, as they will have the same privileges and control features as the host.
Prevent participants from rejoining after being removed
Disable Allow removed participants to rejoin. This will prevent a user from rejoining if they have been removed from the meeting.
An effective method to avoid zoombombing or intrusions during a meeting is with the use of passwords.
- Enable Require a password when scheduling new meetings
- Enable Require a password for instant meetings
- Enable Require a password for a Personal Meeting ID (PMI)
- Enable Require password for participants joining by phone
Restrict file transfers
Disable file transfers to prevent malicious files from being shared, or restrict file types to block unwanted file transfers.
During a meeting
Lock the meeting
After all your attendees have joined, you can lock your meeting to prevent any additional attendees from joining. Click Participants at the bottom of your meeting window, then click Lock Meeting.
If a participant does not observe the rules of conduct for the meeting, they can be removed. On the Participant menu, just mouse over the participant’s name and a Remove option will appear.
Control screen sharing
By default, Zoom prevents participants from sharing their screen. As the host, screen sharing is enabled by default.
>Mute audio and disable video for meeting participants
The host can mute/unmute individual participants or all of them at once. You can also mute participants when they join, to keep the noise down.
Participants’ video can also be turned off. This allows the host to block unwanted or inappropriate gestures on video
Disable private chat
Allowing private chat may become distracting or unproductive. But as a host, you control or limit the in-meeting chat access. A chat session is usually enabled at the end of the meeting for a Q&A session.
Turn off annotation
By default, this feature is turned off. The host can enable this feature if necessary.
- Download genuine software from official sources.
- Update your Zoom app to the latest version.
- Create strong passwords for all online accounts, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Don’t use your Personal Meeting ID to host meetings.
- Don’t share Zoom meeting links publicly.
- Use a virtual background to keep your surroundings private.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your account from unauthorized access.