During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been several articles about "Zoombombing" incidents, where uninvited participants join and harass the presenter and participants. If you are concerned about this happening during one of your classes, then follow the recommendations in this article about scheduling more secure meetings and what tools you can use to during a meeting to keep it secure.
Keep your meeting information private
First and foremost, only share information about how to join the conference with your intended attendees. To the best of our knowledge, the majority of "Zoombombing" has occurred when someone has posted meeting information in a public setting. Secure ways of inviting members to your meeting are by using direct calendar invitations, emails to attendees, or invitations sent through Canvas.
Scheduling a more secure meeting
Complete details on scheduling Zoom meetings are available at this link. This section focuses only on security settings when initially scheduling a meeting.
Scheduling meetings can be accomplished from both the Desktop Zoom client or from the Web Zoom interface. The recommended settings to use when scheduling a secure Zoom meeting are highlighted in the images below, with brief explanations of the settings following.
Note: these screenshots were taken April 2020 and may not precisely match what you see.
Desktop interface - click to enlarge
Web Zoom interface - click to enlarge:
- Select Generate Automatically
- This option will auto-generate your Meeting ID. We do NOT recommend using a Personal Meeting ID at this time. Think of it as similar to giving out your phone number: share it with only with people you trust.
- Select Require meeting password
- This option adds a layer of access protection to your meeting. To change this for all new meetings you schedule, review Enabling Password Settings for Your Own Meetings and Webinars.
Advanced Options / Meeting Options
Select Enable waiting room
This option adds potential meeting participants to a waiting room, lets you see those who are waiting, and allows you to manually grant access to people in the waiting room (see the Manage Participants section below). A one minute video on how to use the waiting room feature can be seen here.
Deselect Enable join before host
This feature is not recommend! If this feature is enabled, there may be unwanted attendees waiting to surprise you when you join your meeting.
More details, including how to make this your default setting for future meetings, can be found in the User section of the Waiting Room document.
Updating an existing meeting's security settings
- The above settings will not impact meetings that you've already scheduled. For instructions on applying these settings to an existing meeting, refer to the information on Updating a Scheduled Meeting.
- Note! After you have made changes to setting for your meetings, you may need to resend meeting details to your participants.
Security settings while in a meeting
- When you are already in a meeting, setting controls are located in a menu bar along the bottom of your screen. Move your cursor to the bottom of the Zoom window to make this menu appear. Maximize your meeting window, or make full screen, to make menu items and controls more visible. Clicking on an ellipsis labeled "More" also opens these controls.
- Participant management and Security controls are available to use at anytime during a meeting via the meeting controls menu - without having to leave the meeting window.
Manage Participants (two heads icon)
Open this control (or press Alt-U) during a meeting - especially at the beginning - to see who is in the waiting room, grant or deny access, mute and unmute participants, enable and restrict chatting features, remove participants from a meeting, and more.
Security Menu (shield icon)
The Security Menu can be used anytime during a meeting, and gives you several options that you can turn on and off. Each feature is activated when you see a check mark next to it:
Lock Meeting This is used to lock out anybody not already in the meeting. Use this carefully as you may inadvertently lock someone out who has left and is trying to rejoin (e.g., to try and establish a better connection), or if someone is late they may not be able to join in. Should someone try to join after the meeting is locked, then you can still admit them via the waiting room (see Manage Participants above).
- Enable waiting room This feature allows you to grant or deny access into your meeting, without interrupting the meeting itself. The waiting room appears at the top of the Participants window (see Manage Participants above).
- Share Screen When activated, this feature allows participants to share their screens with everyone in your meeting. If sharing screens (other than your own) is not warranted, make sure there is not a tick next to this security feature. Alternatively, if there are things for participants to share, make sure there is a tick next to this feature.
- Chat When activated, this feature allows participants to chat with each other and/or with the entire meeting group. Restrictions on chatting during a meeting are controlled in the Participants window (see Manage Participants above).
- Rename Themselves When activated, this allows attendees to change the name that is used to identify themselves in the participant list and in the video thumbnail windows. Turning this off makes it harder for participants to hide behind monikers, but it also leaves attendees being stuck with their registered names, or listed as a phone number if they join by phone.
Regarding phone participants
If you have people joining via phone, we recommend you ensure that they verbally identify themselves as soon as they join and prior to continuing your meeting. Once they identify themselves, you as host have the option of renaming them via the Manage Participant's menu (see above). Renaming them labels them with a name and not just a number during the meeting. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like assistance adding a passcode for phone participants.
As always, please contact Whitman College Technology Services if you have questions or concerns about your online applications security or usage.