Millions of people across the world have been forced to switch to working from home and meeting remotely with their customers, coworkers, family and friends. The global shift has made Zoom the leading video conferencing platform with a massive jump in users from 10 million in December of 2019 to over 200 million by March of 2020.
Zoom’s advantage is its accessibility. The platform is simple, easy to use and doesn’t over complicate getting a video chat started. While some users are loving it’s simplicity and playful features like custom backgrounds, others have brought its security faults into the spotlight in recent weeks.
There are reports surfacing of videos recorded through the software being saved to separate storage spaces without password requirements. Some chats are being disrupted by unwelcome online trolls who post pornographic images in video chats, and aggressively insult other users through text chats. Tech experts are criticizing a lack of encryption security.
Zoom is an excellent tool and there are plenty of easy options to make the platform a safer place to hold your company meetings, gatherings of friends and family time. We’ve outlined 6 ways to keep your Zoom chats secure and private for everyone.
Put a stop to Zoombombs
Zoombombing is the moniker given to unwanted guests joining a Zoom video chat. There are a few effective ways to prevent these trolls and hackers from disrupting your meetings.
#1 Use a random meeting ID
Each zoom meeting is given a unique 9 digit identification number. If the number is made public and someone finds it online or guesses it (although improbable), they can easily join the chat with a couple clicks. An effective way to prevent unwanted visitors is to use a random meeting ID for every new meeting you create. When you first launch a meeting, the options panel allows you to generate a random ID instead of using your personal ID.
#2 Set a meeting password
Set your meeting up “behind closed doors” with a password. Every participant will need to enter the correct password to join your meeting. This is found in the options panel as well as when you launch a meeting.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to be careful who you share the password with and how. We suggest only giving the password to a select few people and avoiding any mass communications.
#3 Enable a virtual waiting room
Just as you would in an office, you can have participants hold in a waiting room before joining a meeting. This can be found under the advanced options for hosting meetings. When the meeting host or leader is ready, they can approve each waiting participant to join.
Understand your options and set restrictions
#4 Keep privacy in mind when opting-in to some features
Zoom meeting hosts, the creators or leaders of a video chat, are given many privileges and tools. It’s important you know what each participant is able to do in the meeting before you ever launch one.
For example, hosts are given the option to record the meeting and save copies of the chat log. An excellent feature, right? Maybe not if some comments between participants aren’t appropriate or shouldn’t be viewed by others. Saved chat logs save everything. That means person-to-person chats and person-to-everyone chats both get saved. We suggest only using features like this if absolutely necessary.
#5 Restrict users
You’ve probably heard horror stories of users accidentally showing private information during a video chat. What people do online during their free-time can be awkward, even if the intent is innocent.
Zoom meeting hosts can help keep everyone focused and safe from awkward situations by restricting screen sharing. On Windows or macOS, click the arrow beside Share Screen then Advanced Sharing Options to turn off screen sharing for everyone but yourself. You can change the setting for each participant later if needed.
#6 Lock the meeting
Once everyone has joined the meeting, lock it to prevent additional unwanted guests. From the desktop app, click Manage Participants, More, then Lock Meeting.
Each of these options can add more security to a meeting, but the best way to protect everyone is to use them together. Use a random ID, set a password, restrict sharing options and lock the meeting. You can be sure that the next meeting you join or host won’t be disrupted by trolls or awkward reveals.