How To Stop Trolls From ‘Zoom-Bombing’ Calls

Zoom is becoming an essential service for millions of Americans who are self-isolating in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but hackers are using the tool for their own agendas.

Digital break-ins on Zoom meetings are taking place across the nation as much of country is placed on lockdown and forced to resort to online video conferences to communicate to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Internet trolls are ‘Zoom-bombing’ calls by displaying pornographic and racists content.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan spoke with Good Morning America Wednesday to assure the public that privacy is of upmost importance to the firm and revealed features that will keep internet trolls at bay.

Yuan explained that users can create passwords for meetings, waiting rooms and lockdown each session in order to keep their calls safe.

‘We take privacy very seriously and have privacy a policy and our intention is never to sell any customer data,’ Yuan said during a video interview.

‘After meetings are over we do not check anything.’

‘You need to understand the secure feature of about how to use Zoom.’

Those features include creating a password for each meeting, so only those attending can enter.

Users can also establish a waiting room for the group, allowing them to welcome in specific people and keep track of who is attending.

And for added safety, meetings can be lock-down once everyone is inside.

The FBI recommended that Zoom users make all meetings private and avoid screen sharing to combat would-be hackers.

Here are some additional measures that can be used to lock-down your Zoom session.

These are some easy settings you can change before your Zoom meeting begins that will allow you to reduce the likelihood of intrusion by uninvited guests, and generally bolster your privacy overall. Some of these features/actions may not be doable on smartphone and tablet apps.

  1. Don’t use your Personal Meeting ID for the meeting. Instead, use a per-meeting ID, exclusive to a single meeting. Zoom’s support page offers a video walk-through on how to generate a random meeting ID for extra security.
  2. Enable the “Waiting Room” feature so that you can see who is attempting to join the meeting before allowing them access. Like many other privacy functions, a skillful disrupter can sometimes bypass this control, but it helps to put another hurdle in their route to chaos. Zoom offers a support article here as well. To enable the Waiting Room feature, go to Account Management > Account Settings. Click on Meeting, then click Waiting Room to enable the setting.
  3. Disable other options, including the ability for others to Join Before Host (it should be disabled by default, but check to be sure). Then disable screen-sharing for non-hosts, and also the remote control function. Finally, disable all file transferring, annotations and the autosave feature for chats.
  4. Once the meeting begins and everyone is in, lock the meeting to outsiders (see our tips below) and assign at least two meeting co-hosts. The co-hosts will be able to help control the situation in case anyone bypasses your efforts and gets into the meeting.

To disable most of these features, click on the gear-shaped Settings icon on the upper-right side of the page after you’ve logged in. From there, you’ll see the option to turn off most of the listed features.

Disabling screen-sharing is a bit different, but just as easy. Go to the host controls at the bottom of your screen, and you’ll see an arrow next to Share Screen. Click the arrow, then click Advanced Sharing Options. Go to Who can share? Click Only Host, then close the window.

To deputize your co-hosts, go to the same Settings icon, then to the Meetings tab. Scroll down to Co-host and make sure it is enabled. If Zoom asks you for verification, click Turn On.

Some useful Zoom tips, tricks and hidden features for non-business sessions

  • Mute and un-mute with the space bar – When you are called on to speak, stop scrambling to click the microphone button. You can press and hold the space-bar to quickly mute and un-mute your mic, right from your keyboard.
  • Turn on gallery view – Gallery view lets you see everyone in the meeting at once, instead of just the person speaking. To turn that on, click the tab that says “Gallery view” in the top right corner. If the meeting has 49 or fewer attendees, you’ll see all of their screens displayed on one page. If there are more, you’ll have the option to move between multiple pages. Change it back by clicking “Speaker view” in that same top right corner.
  • Hide non-video participants – On a larger call, your screen can get cluttered with participants, which can be distracting, especially if some don’t have their cameras on. Hide the participants who aren’t using video by going to Settings > Video > Meetings, and check Hide non-video participants. Now you’ll only be distracted by your co-workers’ pets and children who appear on video.
  • React with emoji on screen – If you’re muted in a meeting, you can still let the hosts know your thoughts with emoji reactions. Send a thumbs up or a clapping emoji to communicate without interrupting the meeting (by default, those reactions have a yellow skin tone, but you can customize that on the Zoom desktop app). To react during a meeting, click the Reactions tab at the bottom of the meeting screen (it’s in the same panel as mute audio and video, to the right) and choose the one you want. Emoji will disappear after 5 seconds. If the meeting organizer enables the nonverbal feedback feature, participants can place an icon such as a raised hand next to their name to communicate. Every participant will be able to see each other’s feedback.
  • Learn handy keyboard shortcuts – For those who don’t like clicking around their screen, Zoom has a ton of helpful keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate the app on your desktop without using your mouse. Find commands to join a meeting, start or stop recording, enter full screen and share your screen. Check out Zoom’s full list of hot keys and keyboard shortcuts. 
  • Share your screen – Share your screen for a Zoom meeting (or to watch a movie or play a game) with other participants by clicking the Share screen icon on the toolbar at the bottom of the meeting screen. You’ll have the option to share your entire desktop, or just one of the windows you have open. Click the red Stop Share button at the top of the screen to go back to being a normal participant in the meeting.
  • Record the meeting to your computer – Both free and paid Zoom subscribers can record their meeting to their laptop or computer using the desktop app (you can’t record on mobile at the moment, unless you have a paid account — keep reading for more on that). Those recorded files can then be uploaded to a file storage service such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or a video streaming service such as YouTube or Vimeo. To enable local recording, go to Settings > Recording, and toggle it on. When you’re hosting a Zoom meeting, click the Record icon on the bottom toolbar.


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