Recently, a significant number of people have reported uninvited trolls crashing their Zoom teleconferencing calls and hijacking meetings by sending racist or graphic images.
Most universities that have turned to online classes and people of color are the primary targets, calling for the involvement of the local investigations and the FBI.
To respond to this issue, Zoom provided its uses with some tips on how they can avoid becoming victims of “Zoombombing.” The Anti-Defamation League has made sure that white supremacists use the crashing tactic to push hateful messages and has offered a checklist that safeguards its users.
The following list provides ways to avoid “Zoombombing” and keep your meeting in control once it is underway:
1. Protect your meeting using a password
Use the web rather than the app when logging into your Zoom account. The next step is to click on the Settings option that is located on the left-side menu. On clicking the settings options, you will have access to the passwords option for all Zoom meetings, including instant, scheduled, and personal ID settings.
A random password is often assigned when creating a new meeting.
You can opt to use the random password, or you can change and use a personalized password. However, you will still follow the rule of not making your password predictable.
When setting up a new meeting, the password setting must be on. You can also return to the previously scheduled meetings and enable the password on the Settings option.
When inviting people to a meeting that is already underway, the meeting ID and the random password will appear on the screen. They will be automatically sent out in the email invite.
DO NOT USE PASSWORD THAT IS 1234 or 123456 or other easily guessable password.
2. Setting up a waiting room
Setting up a waiting room will help you and the host to have control over who joins the meeting and the time they join. The feature enables you to allow people in one at a time, which is more efficient for smaller groups or all at once after having a review of the list of people in case of meetings with larger groups of people.
You can also adjust this feature to include only those who are in your Zoom account or automatically add people.
You can also access this feature on the Settings option under the Meeting tab.
3. Lock it down
As the meeting continues, it is also essential that it is locked down to prevent uninvited guests from interfering. Locking down the meeting can be done at the start of the meeting by clicking in the Manage Participants options in the bottom menu on the screen. You will see the list of participants on the screen. On the bottom right-hand side, there is a Mute option, Unmute All option, and More option. Clicking on More will lead you to the Lock Meeting option where you can block any new participant that may want to join.
4. Kick them out
The simplest solution is to kick the trolls out of your meeting if someone made it crash your meeting. To kick an unwanted participant, go to the Participant menu at the bottom of the screen when the meeting is underway. Scroll as you search for the name of the unwanted participant. The Remove option will show up.
Despite having this option, victims of “Zoombombing” told BuzzFeed News that several unwanted guests often infiltrated their meetings. In some cases, classes that should contain multiple people have up to 100 unidentified trolls who find their way into the classes resulting in Zoombombing turning into a group activity. In these scenarios, it becomes challenging to kick out individual offenders. Therefore, making sure that the meeting is locked down using passwords and a randomized meeting ID is the most effective method.
5. Avoid using your personal ID number
Personal ID is like a never-ending meeting. It is a bad idea to use in for any meeting as a troll may take the opportunity to crash your meetings. Instead of using personal ID, it is recommended that you use the random meeting IDs. To get the random meeting ID, click on the personal Settings option and then click on the Meeting tab then disable using your Personal Meeting ID when you want to start a scheduled or instant meeting.
6. Get a co-host
As the meeting is on-going, you can move your cursor over the user’s video you would want to be your co-host and click on the three dots that will appear on the top right corner of the person’s picture or video. After clicking on the three dots, a Make Co-Host option will appear. The co-host will help in shutting down any trolls or unwanted guests.
For more tips on how to control your Zoom meeting, look at the company’s guide, and learn how to keep uninvited guests out of your meeting.
Now go ahead and safely hold your meetings.
7. Control the screen
“Zoombombers” have taken over a meeting over the past few days by taking control of the screen, getting the opportunity to display racists or pornographic images.
Although disabling this feature may not prevent people from crashing the meeting, it takes away the ability and motivation of the trolls to disrupt your online meeting. The feature comes in handy when the troll somehow had access to your invite list or the meeting password. You can control the screen even when the meeting is underway by clicking on the arrow (^) at the right of the Share Screen on the bottom of the host control panel.
8. Do not go Public on Social Media about it!
Do not Tweet. Do not post on Facebook. Do not post your meeting on Instagram or in school forums.
Avoid all these!
Making the link visible to everyone means that the meeting is no longer private as other people can also access the meeting. As stated by Zoom, sharing the meeting link in social media and other public forums makes the meeting extremely public. Posting the meeting link is not only discouraged in social media but also on electronic school bulletin boards, which makes it accessible to everybody else.