Zoom videoconferencing has exploded in popularity in our district and around the world. We are happy that Zoom is allowing many teachers to stay connected with their students and colleagues, but unfortunately some schools' online meetings and classes have been disrupted by uninvited guests. They're called Zoom-Bombers, and if you use Zoom, you need to know about them.
Zoom-Bombers are able to take advantage of Zoom's convenient share link features. Unfortunately, there have been some media reports in recent days of both public Zoom meetings, virtual classes, and conference calls being hijacked by outside hackers who use screen-sharing to take over the presentation and show inappropriate content. The good news is that, by adjusting your Zoom settings, you can help prevent these attacks from happening to meetings you host. Here are ten recommended tips and settings that should help keep your Zoom meetings safe from attack:
Never post a Zoom meeting invitation or join code on an public web page. Instead, share your Zoom invites via a more secure service, such as a Google Classroom announcement or ParentSquare notification.
Turn off "Join before host." This prevents attendees from starting your meeting prior to your arrival.
Turn on "Require a password when scheduling new meetings." You'll also want to check the Password box when scheduling a meeting. You can either use the default password provided or type your own.
Turn on "Mute participants upon entry." This not only might help slow down an uninvited guest; it also helps minimize background noise and feedback.
Turn off "Co-hosts." This makes it more difficult for a hacker to take over your presentation.
Turn on "Allow Host to Put Attendee on Hold." This enables you to kick out someone who is misbehaving.
Under "Screen Sharing," set "Who can share?" to "Host Only." This will keep your students from taking control of the presentation screen when you don't want them to.
Turn off "Annotation." This will prevent students and Zoom-Bombers alike from drawing pictures all over your presentation screen.
Turn off "Far end camera control." This prevents any of your participants from zooming your camera.
Turn on "Waiting room." With this setting, nobody can join your meeting until you release them from a virtual waiting room. This is a great way to keep out uninvited guests ... but you'll need to check waiting room frequently so you can let in any late joiners. Bonus: Turning this setting on will automatically turn off "Join before host."
For more helpful tips, check out this short video clip:
BONUS TIP: Did you know you can adjust your chat settings to prevent students from engaging in private conversations during a Zoom meeting? Reference the video for more information.
We'd love to hear your ideas and experiences about using Zoom. Drop us a comment below--or, if you want to Zoom with your EdTech, use the link below to book a (virtual) appointment through Calendly.