Zoom and other video conferencing apps saw a massive surge in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the increase in the number of people using video chat highlighted security weaknesses in many video conferencing apps.
Some of the security issues that came to light were software issues, which were quickly fixed. However, many of the security breaches were caused by people's lack of understanding of the need for caution when using video conferencing software.
Whether you want to discuss sensitive business issues with colleagues or have a private chat with friends, you don't want strangers gate-crashing your Zoom meetings. So here are ten steps you can take to protect your privacy when you are using Zoom.
1. Password Protect All Meetings
Password protection on meetings is now the default on Zoom. But don't turn this off to make life easier for the people you have arranged to meet online. Using a secure, hard to guess password is the best way to protect your privacy on Zoom. It is also advisable to avoid using the same password for all your Zoom meetings.
2. Enable Waiting Room
The Waiting Room is another feature that Zoom has now made a default. Even so, make sure that you always use this feature for all your Zoom meetings. The Waiting Room feature makes all participants in a Zoom meeting wait until the host has approved them. You can also remove participants from a meeting and kick them back into the waiting room if they misbehave or were not invited.
3. Don't Advertise Meetings on Social Media
Invite people by email to join a video conference rather than issuing a publicly visible invitation on social media. Publicizing a virtual meeting on your social media accounts may attract the attention of trolls and so-called Zoom bombers. Even if your event is open to the public, it would be best to ask people to apply to attend via your website or by email. That way, you will still have some control over who receives the link and password for your meeting.
4. Avoid Using Your Personal Meeting ID
The personal meeting identification (ID) is intended for use by people you meet regularly. This ID is assigned to you, and it will always be the same. It is advisable to only share your personal meeting ID with people you know. If you share the ID with strangers, those people could return and attend a private meeting you are holding with a friend. It is safer always to use a randomly generated meeting ID when meeting online with strangers.
5. Lock Meetings
Once the meeting has begun, you can lock the session to prevent anyone else from joining. You will find this option under the "Manage Participants" tab. Using this feature and the Waiting Room feature will ensure that no one can crash your Zoom meeting even if they have managed to find the meeting access details.
6. Protect Your Zoom Account
One of the essential Zoom security precautions is to be careful with your Zoom password. Choose a password that would be difficult to guess, and never share your password with anyone else. Use two-factor authentication on your Zoom account. You should also not be using the same password on all the apps you use. If you find it tricky to keep track of all your passwords, try using a password manager app, like RoboForm or Dashlane.
7. Disable Screen Sharing
Allowing users to share their screens can be useful in Zoom business meetings. However, the screen sharing feature can also be used to share inappropriate content. So, if you don't need to share screens and want to prevent any chance of a Zoom bomber displaying pornographic images during a meeting, turn off the screen sharing feature in the security options.
8. Check for Zoom Updates
As mentioned in the introduction, the increased use of video conferencing uncovered many security flaws in Zoom. The security issues were quickly fixed, but hackers will always be looking for new ways to infiltrate Zoom meetings. So, to play it safe, install any software updates that are waiting to be applied each time you are about to use Zoom. The latest updates may include crucial security fixes.
9. Watch Out for Fake Zoom Apps
The increased popularity of apps like zoom has also led to a surge in malicious files disguised as video conferencing apps. So, be careful to only download apps from the official Zoom website or the App Store or Google Play. Unofficial apps may contain malware or could be designed to trick you into parting with your bank or credit card details.
10. How to Remove Uninvited Attendees
If someone does manage to zoom bomb your meeting, it is easy to kick them out. The option to remove someone from a Zoom meeting is under the Participants tab. There is also a setting under the Meetings tab that will prevent the participants you have removed from a session from rejoining it. It would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with these settings so that you can quickly remove unwanted attendees from Zoom meetings.
Video conferencing apps like Zoom have done a great deal to improve their software's security and privacy. However, you must remain vigilant and take steps to protect your privacy. Use strong passwords, use features like the waiting room and locking meetings, and don't publicize your meetings on social media. Get the essential security precautions covered. You will then be able to enjoy trouble-free and private video conferencing meetings with your colleagues and friends.