As video conferencing tools continue to gain popularity worldwide, the incidence of Zoombombing - a destructive trend that affects Zoom in particular - has increased exponentially. This guide delves into the mechanics of Zoombombing and provides practical tips on how to prevent such occurrences by utilizing simple security features like locking meetings or enabling waiting rooms. Additionally, we will discuss effective responses to take if your Zoom meeting becomes targeted by Zoombombers.
How does Zoom Bombing happen?
Zoombombing happens when an unauthorized person gains access to a Zoom meeting and disrupts it by sharing inappropriate content or engaging in disruptive behavior, such as yelling or making offensive comments. Zoombombers can gain access to a meeting by obtaining the Zoom MeetingID or password through various means, such as social media posts, public event listings, or by guessing common MeetingIDs using automated software. Once they gain access, Zoombombers can cause significant disruption to the meeting, including displaying explicit or offensive content, making loud noises, or using screen sharing to take over the presentation.
How to Prevent Zoom Bombing?
Recognizing that Zoombombing is a potential but legitimate threat can enable you to proactively prepare for challenging situations as they unfold. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the Zoom meeting settings and interface. Dedicate 20-30 minutes to investigating your options on Zoom while perusing this guide, which will significantly enhance your proficiency in operating Zoom controls. You may conduct this exploration independently or alongside a colleague who shares similar learning goals, and we strongly suggest leveraging our Zoom guides and Zoom's privacy and security guides as an initial resource.
1. Vanderbilt Default Settings
We have implemented default settings at Vanderbilt that serve to safeguard users from such attacks. However, meeting hosts are also able to modify all the measures outlined below. Therefore, if it becomes necessary to grant participants greater flexibility during your meeting, this option can also be accommodated.
- Use a Password
Although passwords are not the strongest form of authentication, it is still advisable to use them as a basic security measure. When creating a Zoom meeting, always set a password for entry. Keep in mind that passwords are restricted to 10 characters, so make sure to choose them wisely.
- Annotating is restricted to the host only
During meetings hosted by Vanderbilt users, only the host has access to the annotation tool. This precautionary measure ensures that unwelcome participants cannot exploit the tool for the purpose of disrupting your meeting. If you wish to permit your partner to use the annotation tool(about how to annotate on Zoom you can read Annotating on Zoom for Effective Online Communication),you must modify this setting prior to the commencement of the meeting.
2. Tools that users can choose to enable at their discretion
Enable the waiting room feature. By activating this setting, students will initially enter a virtual waiting area, and it will be up to you or another designated host to grant access to each individual participant that is admitted to the class meeting. Should any uninvited guests attempt to join, you can simply opt not to admit them.
Restrict attendance to authenticated users only. By selecting this option, only Zoom users who have logged into their accounts can gain entry to the Zoom meeting. This will make it more difficult for anonymous intruders to barge into your meeting and makes it easier to track anyone who does arrive without permission.
Lock the meeting. Once all attendees have entered the meeting and it has commenced, locking the meeting is one of the most effective ways to deter Zoombombing incidents. Similar to locking the door of a physical classroom to prevent any additional unexpected visitors from entering, locking your virtual meeting restricts further participants from joining, regardless of whether they have the password. To accomplish this, click on the Manage Participants button located at the bottom of the screen, select the More option, and then click on Lock Meeting
What to Do If You Experience Zoom Bombing?
Dealing with Disruptive Participants: If you notice someone causing a disturbance, you have the option to turn off their audio and/or video or remove them from the meeting entirely.
Muting All Audio: In case the disruptive participant is making noise, use the keyboard shortcut Alt+M to mute everyone's audio except for the host's and you can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your settings to reduce confusion in large meetings.
Put attendees in the waiting room : When a host pauses participant activities, the audio and video connections of attendees will be temporarily disabled. In addition, the host can place specific participants in the waiting room to suspend their meeting activities. To use this feature, simply click on a person's video thumbnail or hover over their name in the participant list, then click on the "More" menu button and select "Put in Waiting Room." You can reactivate their participation by clicking "Admit" in the More menu when you're ready for them to rejoin the meeting.
End the meeting: After you have reported, removed and/or changed permissions during the meeting and that still does not resolve the issue, it may be best to end the meeting. Make sure you schedule a new meeting with a new meeting ID for all future meetings so that the Zoom bomber can’t jump right back in.
To secure your classroom against Zoombombing and ensure a peaceful teaching experience, it is important to utilize privacy and security measures that are suitable for your course. Additionally, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the tools available for muting or removing participants during a meeting. Taking these steps can greatly enhance the security of your online classroom and provide you with peace of mind as you teach.
After resolving any Zoombombing issues, consider using the Nearity V30 UHD Conference Camera or V410 2K PTZ CONFERENCE CAMERA to enhance your meetings. These cameras offer high-definition image quality with clear details, vivid colors, and smooth video projection and streaming, without any delay or distortion. In addition to their top-notch video capabilities, these cameras also provide an additional layer of security for your workforce by automatically pivoting to the rear after meetings, which ensures privacy by default. This feature prevents the camera from pointing into the room when there is no ongoing meeting. For a wide range of audio and visual equipment to take your virtual meetings to the next level, visit Nearity.
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