A virtual meeting in early April by the Milwaukee Election Commission was interrupted abruptly when troublemakers crashed it and began showing inappropriate images.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident. A new type of security attack called “Zoom-bombing” has been happening across the country to virtual classrooms, community groups, and businesses that are all trying to stay connected by the use of video conferencing.
Since the pandemic stay-at-home orders began, use of online meetings has skyrocketed as a means to stay in touch and conduct business and school while also social distancing.
In March, the number of daily active users on Zoom increased 378% from a year prior.
And despite any network setup or device protections someone may have, they’re of no help when it comes to keeping an intruder out of a virtual meeting. For that, you need to enable the proper meeting security settings when you schedule your meeting.
Use These Important Settings to Secure Online Meetings
The rise of Zoom-bombing – which is when intruders crash an online meeting to purposely disrupt it – has led to Zoom and other meeting apps rolling out urgent updates to improve the security of the platforms.
But it seems that even through Zoom now defaults to more secure settings, users are still making mistakes that allow their meetings to be ruined by Zoom-bombers.
Simply switching to another video conference service isn’t enough to protect you, because those services can also suffer the same intrusions if the meeting security is lax. Zoom is just the most popular service that consumers began using in droves during COVID-19, which is why the phenomenon was named for it.
Most video meeting tools will have similar meeting settings, so we’ll provide the general settings to use in Zoom below. Just be aware that there’s a good chance you’ll see these same types of protections in other video conference apps as well.
Use a Password for Your Meeting
Adding a meeting password can make it take a few seconds longer for everyone to get in, but it’s worth it for the additional security.
If a Zoom-bomber knows the meeting ID, but not the password, it keeps them out and they’ll most likely move on to trying a different meeting to crash.
Use the Waiting Room Feature for Attendees
You want to make sure you DO NOT allow participants to join the meeting automatically or before the host joins. You can put up a firewall to your meeting by putting everyone in a virtual waiting room alone until the host grants them access.
Don’t Allow Participants Screensharing Privileges
If an intruder takes over the screen, they can more easily show inappropriate content to everyone in the meeting.
When you set up your meeting, turn off screensharing for participants, so only the host can share their screen. You can always grant permission to screenshare to a specific user if you need to during the meeting.
Keep Meeting Information Private
You should treat your meeting ID and password like a key code to your office. Don’t post meeting information publicly on a website or on social media.
Additionally, tell meeting participants not to share meeting information so you can avoid a Zoom-bombing incident.
Lock Your Meeting Once It Has Begun
You can put a virtual lock on your meeting door once everyone is there to keep out any intruders.
In Zoom, this is done by clicking the participants area of your meeting window and then clicking the lock icon. This will keep any new participants from joining the meeting even if they have the ID and password.
Use User Authentication
An advanced setting that’s been added by Zoom and may also be a feature of other online meeting software, is a user authentication.
To use this in Zoom, you need to have a Pro, Business, Education, or Enterprise account.
You set up an authentication profile, such as the user must have an “@mycompany.com” email address. Then, when setting up the meeting, you click the authenticated user option and choose the authentication policy you’ve set up.
If someone without that email address tries to join, they’ll be rejected.
Mute Participants Joining and While in the Meeting
This can be helpful depending upon how “free form” your meetings are. When you create a new meeting, check an option to mute participants on entry (you can also turn off video on entry).
This can give you a little additional time to see an intruder entering and remove them before they have a chance to turn on their mic.
Once the meeting has begun, you can also click to mute users and not allow them to unmute themselves. This can keep anyone crashing after the meeting has started from being able to shout obscenities or otherwise disrupt your meeting.
The host can unmute users as they need to so they can participate. This can also help reduce background noise and keep people from talking over each other due to slight sound delays.
Ensure Your Remote Team Has the Right Security Tools
Is your remote team fully covered with the right security tools – both online and on their device? If you’re unsure, Quantum PC Services can help you make certain they’re fully protected.
Contact us today to learn more. Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.