Secure Videoconferencing During Covid-19: Ten Tips to Prevent “Zoom Bombing”

With 300 million people using Zoom videoconferencing every day, the issue of Zoom meetings getting hijacked by a hacker, troll, or “Zoom bomber” has become a real and serious problem. Similar to traditional cyber attacks, the Zoom bomber finds a way to breach the Zoom conference and then disrupts the meeting with a rant or inappropriate message.

Syed Alam, Founder, and CEO accentedge

“This is a serious problem that needs immediate remedy — similar to how we would confront any cyber attack on a business or individual,” said Syed Alam, Founder, and CEO of accentedge, an IT services company based in Chicago. “We can’t underestimate the cost to schools or businesses that are unable to hold classes or conduct business due to the threat of a Zoom bombing,” Alam added, “In these times of the Covid-19 epidemic, where people are relying on secure communications through programs like Zoom, it is important that users of this technology take steps to stop this kind of attack.”

Security experts at Zoom also see this problem as a priority and are scrambling to put protections in place to prevent the hijacking of Zoom videoconferences. The Zoom 5.0 update will include intrusion-blocking encryption technology, new privacy controls, and the ability to report abusive users. Zoom is implementing AES 256-bit GCM encryption, considered one of the most secure methods for protecting data.

“This kind of attack is not going away,” Alam stressed, “a hacker will always be looking for vulnerabilities in the system to exploit. The strategy for stopping these attacks is the same advice we would give a large corporation or pharmaceutical company trying to secure sensitive data or its computer network communications — follow and implement the best practices for preventing cyber breaches and have a plan for responding and recovering when an attack occurs. It is not a matter of if an attack occurs, it is about preparing a response for when an attack occurs.”

While Zoom and other videoconferencing app developers are working on ways to protect from Zoom bombing, there are simple steps that users can incorporate to help prevent unwanted visitors or hackers from joining a Zoom meeting.

Here are some ways to help protect the security of your Zoom meetings:

What To Do If A-Zoom Bomber Crashes Your Meeting

Despite taking precautions, what do you do if a Zoom bomber joins and attempts to disrupt your meeting? For example, what if someone is trolling the chat section with unwanted posts or attempts to cause chaos by sharing inappropriate audio, images, or messages?

Put the offending user on Mute. The first step you can take is to put the offender on Mute so they cannot be heard by other participants. To do this, the Host or Co-Host can go to the Participants List and scroll down to “Mute All Controls.” This will prevent the hacker from using their microphone to disrupt the meeting. Make sure your Co-Hosts are trained on how to use this feature.

Remove a disruptive user from your Zoom Meeting. You can lock out disruptive users by going to the Participants List and scroll down to “More.” Click on “Lock Meeting” which will allow you to remove participants from the meeting and prevent new participants from joining.

Shut down the meeting. In a worst-case scenario, as the Host, you can shut down the meeting. As the Host, you are ultimately responsible for the content of your meeting, and if needed, you can always just end the meeting.

As Zoom becomes an increasingly popular means of communication for people to meet, hackers will continue to look at ways to breach or disrupt this platform. It is critical that these Zoom bombers are stopped so that individuals, businesses, and organizations can communicate freely in a COVID-19 world. Using common-sense methods to stop trolls, hackers, and Zoom bombers — and having a plan for dealing with these disruptions — we can ensure an open and safe environment for Zoom users in the future.

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