Video conferencing use has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic. Companies are using online meetings to keep in touch with employees, vendors, and customers, and schools are relying on them for online learning,
In January, there were 2.1 million downloads of the popular video meeting software Zoom. In March, the number of downloads jumped to 27 million.
But this dramatic increase in the use of video conferencing, coupled with many people having a lot of time on their hands due to “stay at home” guidelines, have led to the phenomenon of “Zoom-Bombing.”
Because this is happening through an online platform, normal network security measures aren’t in play.
Zoom-bombing has become so bad that Canada has discouraged any government agencies from using Zoom, along with a list of multiple other schools, governments, and companies.
Zoom-bombing is when an uninvited user joins a video conference for the express reason of disruption.
These incidents have included interlopers shouting profanities, racial slurs, or showing pornographic materials. Understandably, this is a huge security issue when it comes to online group meetings being held to conduct business or to educate students.
Zoom has been the hardest hit by these, which is why the phenomenon is named for their application. However, any unsecure video chat on any other platform can also be subject to being “crashed” by troublemakers.
In their defense, Zoom has worked quickly to add safeguards to their platform to give users more security control. They explained that the drastic increase in consumer use of their business-focused platform took them by surprise and they weren’t properly prepared for misuse of their application.
Not using video conferencing during the global pandemic when many people are working from home to stay safe is not a good option. Video conferencing promotes team connectivity, which is especially important to keeping a business productive.
You can safely use video conference software, including Zoom, Skype, or others, if you take the time to use settings that are designed to keep out unauthorized parties and restrict user activities.
Here are five important settings to use every time you have a video meeting.
Many users bypass the option to set up a meeting password to make it easier for people to join, but this setting can help keep out unwanted troublemakers. When scheduling or starting your meeting, use the password feature for additional security.
When sharing meeting details with participants, don’t post them in a public place like Facebook. Instead, send them individually to each person.
When setting up a meeting, you’ll generally have a choice between using your personal meeting ID, which stays the same every time, or using a new meeting space/ID instead.
Using a new meeting space means the link is not the same for every meeting you have. This is more secure because an unwanted person can’t keep disrupting your meetings using the same link.
How to do this on Zoom.
How to do this on Skype.
You have the option to lock your meeting from newcomers once everyone is there. This stops Zoom-bombing because all users are kept out once you’ve locked the space.
This works a bit differently on Zoom and Skype.
On Zoom, once everyone is there, you can click “Participants” at the bottom of the window, and in the popup, click to lock the meeting. Even people with the password won’t be able to get in once the meeting is locked.
In Skype this is more of a gate keeping that locks people in the lobby. When you’re setting up your meeting use a setting that only allows the presenter through without waiting in the lobby. You’ll have to admit people that are put into the lobby, but this keeps out unrecognized parties who may be zoom-bombers.
You want to make sure you default your meeting settings to restrict the actions that participants can take. This keeps those important controls from being exploited by someone that’s only there to cause disruption.
Some of the controls to restrict include:
You can ensure no one comes in shouting obscenities by muting users automatically upon entry.
The host can then control which users are unmuted and when. This stops disruptions and can also keep meetings more orderly by eliminating people talking over each other or excessive background noise.
How has your technology infrastructure changed during the pandemic? Is your cybersecurity plan still protecting your business properly? Haxxess can do an online security checkup to ensure you’re protected.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation! Call 705-222-8324 or reach out online.