Video conferencing has become the norm in most of our lives due to coronavirus – whether it’s for work, study or catching up with friends and family.
But the adoption of these apps has brought about privacy concerns. Over the past few weeks Zoom has been a target for trolls ‘zoombombing’ meetings. This can involve anything from annoying spam to screen sharing porn. If you want to avoid this on your Zoom calls, we have some tips.
How are people zoombombing?
Trolls have been able to access seemingly private video calls because they actually aren’t that private. All someone needs is a link to join Zoom calls, unless they’re password protected. Unfortunately, a lot of them aren’t. I’ve attended a lot of Zoom product briefings and interviews over the past few weeks and not one of them have required a password.
So how are trolls getting links to random video chats? A lot of the links are getting shared on social media so colleagues or the general public can access webinars and meetings. They’re not difficult to find on Twitter – you can find plenty just by searching ‘zoom meeting’ or ‘zoom.us’.
In some cases, zoombombing has been invited. Comedian Hamish Blake spoke about his own experience with it after putting a callout to fans to invite him to their online events. He has attended a wedding reception and several birthday parties and was even given the link to an Australian Air Force flight log meeting.
While that was all in good fun, not everyone wants randoms dropping in on their private calls, especially if children are involved. Here’s some ways you can stop that from happening.
How to lock zoom calls
Once a Zoom meeting starts you can lock the room by selecting the ‘more’ button at the bottom of the participant list on the right hand side of the screen. This will bring up a drop down menu with ‘lock meeting’ as the last option.
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How to control zoom screen sharing
One of the issues with trolls has been with screensharing things like pornography. And of course, it’s very easy for regular participants to accidentally hit the screensharing button during a call.
You can prevent this from happy by utilising the ‘advanced sharing options’ while hosting a Zoom meeting. You can find this by clicking on the arrow to the right of the green ‘share screen’ button. From there you can ensure that only the host can screen share.
Alternatively, seek these options out if you want multiple people to screenshare at once.
How to set a Zoom password
When you first sign up for a Zoom account the settings should have passwords required by default. This basically means that any meeting participants will need the password to join it. The same goes for instant meetings.
Still, its worth checking these are selected just in case. There are also other password options available. This is my default settings looked like:
Don’t share Zoom links publicly
Lastly, avoid sharing Zoom links in publicly if possible. While this may be tricky for public webinars and events, there’s no reason for private meeting links to be blasted on open social media platforms such as Twitter.
Instead, either email participants the Zoom link or include it on a calendar invite.
How Much Does Zoom Cost?
Zoom has a tiered pricing structure, but a basic account is free. That gets you 100 simultaneous participants, unlimited meetings and a bunch of other features – but it limits your calls to 40 minutes.
Zoom Pro costs $20.99 a month and comes with 24-hour meeting duration, some free cloud storage and some other customisation features. There are also Business and Enterprise accounts for $27.99 a month that bump the participant list way up, provides decicated support, a vanity url, more cloud storage (unlimited for Enterprise Plus) and even a transcription service – plus heaps more.
You can read through all the details here.
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