Zoombombing, tips for managing uninvited participants
March 30, 2020
Dear Brandeis Community,
With the transition to online classes and a virtual workforce, the community is currently working, teaching, and learning using Zoom video conferencing. With the universities and institutions increasing their worldwide use of Zoom, new cybersecurity threats have emerged. One such trend is “Zoombombing”, where a random, uninvited guest joins the meeting to share inappropriate content via screen share or inflammatory messages via chat.
While there have been no confirmed incidents of Zoombombing in the Brandeis community, it can happen to anyone. ITS has identified the following security best practices to try and reduce your risk of Zoombombing as much as possible. For more information and detailed instructions please see this Zoombombing Notice.
When scheduling a meeting
- Require meeting password: as a meeting host, you can enable settings in your Zoom user account. Passwords should not be shared outside of intended participants.
- Enable waiting room: attendees cannot join a meeting until a host or co-host admits them individually from the waiting room. Recommended for a class or meeting with a small participant list.
- Set screen sharing to host only: meeting hosts can disable screen sharing for all attendees in user account settings. As the host, you can still grant individuals the ability to share in the Participants window during a meeting.
The combination of the security features above should help to prevent the entry of unwanted parties to your Zoom meeting. However, you have access to other in-meeting features if an unauthorized person enters your meeting.
During a meeting
- Remove uninvited or problem participant(s): if you notice an unwanted guest has joined or a participant is disruptive to the meeting, you have the option to remove them.
- Join meeting as the host: when you start up your Zoom meeting, make sure you start it as the host, rather than clicking the invitation link and joining as a participant.
- Mute all: as the host, you can mute all participants in the Participants window. You can also stop participants from unmuting themselves and ask participants to redirect questions or input to the Chat window.
- Lock meeting: You can prevent anyone new from joining the meeting by “closing the door”. This is done in the bottom-right of the Participants window.
- Disable chat: allow participants to chat with the host only by using the setting in the Chat window.
To report an incident of Zoombombing in one of your online classes or virtual meetings, please contact ITS Media Technology Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim La Creta
Chief Information Officer