Beware of Zoom Bombing: the latest trick up the online troll’s sleeve

With many people stuck indoors, some are choosing to spend their spare time seeking out new opportunities to disrupt the work and lives of others. There’s been an observable increase in phishing and other malicious actions, and “Zoom bombing” has been added to the list.

What is Zoom bombing?

Video conferencing software – Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the like make it easy for us to collaborate and share information by displaying what’s on our screens. It’s a convenient feature and we use daily with our team, and for the most part, it helps us share information and ideas that push the business forward.

Unfortunately, an unwelcome guest can use it to their delight to shock and offend other participants. All it takes is the wrong person entering a Zoom meeting and sharing their screen with the rest of the group – often incorporating imagery of their choice, disrupting everyone else.

Zoom bombing has become enough of a problem that the FBI’s Bost field office issued a press release saying the agency “has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.”

How to avoid being Zoom bombed

Zoom meeting hosts don’t need to grant screen sharing abilities to other participants, so it’s pretty easy to be Zoom bombed. Thankfully, a few extra steps at the beginning of a Zoom call can remove the ability for unwanted attendees and their hijinks. To begin, don’t publicly share Zoom links unless absolutely necessary and follow the suggestions below.

  • Disable the “Join Before Host” option so people can’t cause trouble before you connect
  • Enable the “Co-Host” feature so other participants can help moderate your call
  • Disable file transfers to avoid the spread of malicious files
  • Disable the “Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin” to prevent removed attendees from causing more trouble

Ultimately, the easiest way to avoid falling victim to Zoom bombing is to not share public links to your meetings. Invite your participants by email or another one-on-one means of communication to avoid unwelcome guests.

Is your business using Zoom and other types of collaboration-enabling software to conduct business remotely? Share your personal tips for conducting productive, troll-free, meetings in the comments section below!

Matt has spent the better part of 2 decades building systems, managing IT departments, and developing websites and applications for the education, publishing, and technical service industries. As an MCSE...

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