“Zoombombing” has begun to take place now that so many are using the online meeting platform, Zoom. It’s a great resources but, as with all technology, there are those who wish to use it to call attention to themselves and interrupt people who are trying to serve others. Here are 6 steps that could protect your groups from Zoombombing.
Information Source: Protecting your Zoom Conference from “Zoombombing” published in The Alabama Baptist, March 31, 2020 by Carrie Brown McWhorter.
WHO ARE ZOOMBOMBERS?
Not hackers in the traditional sense, Zoombombers typically take advantage of videoconferences that are open to the public by finding the meeting links posted online to Facebook, Twitter or a website. They enter the meetings as participants, and then share their screens or use their webcam to display pornographic or violent images, hate speech or other disturbing material.
Colorado Baptists experienced “Zoombombing” attacks during a March 25 call to prayer. Nathan Lorick, executive director for the Colorado Baptist General Convention, said their gathering was interrupted twice by hackers, who posted inappropriate content on the screen and used degrading language and slurs.
For meetings with just a few participants, like a Sunday School class, discipleship group or school-related class, the best way to prevent intruders is to share the meeting link privately, through text messaging, email or a private group.
HOW TO PREVENT ZOOMBOMBING
- Use a random meeting ID. It’s best practice to generate a random meeting ID for your class, so it can’t be shared multiple times. This is the better alternative to using your Personal Meeting ID, which is not advised because it’s basically an ongoing meeting that’s always running.
- Password-protect the classroom. Create a password and share with students or participants via private text or email so only those intended to join can access a virtual classroom.
- Enable the Waiting Room. When the Waiting Room feature is enabled, participants wait on the host to begin the meeting. The host can choose to skip admission for anyone who is not supposed to be part of the meeting. Starting April 2, Zoom has announced the Waiting Room feature will be automatically turned on by default.
- Disable video and/or Mute Participants: Hosts have the option to mute/unmute individual students or all of them at once. Hosts also have the option to turn off a student’s video to block distracting content or inappropriate gestures while class is in session.
- Lock your virtual classroom. Zoom hosts can lock a Zoom session once everyone joins, kind of like closing the classroom door after the bell rings. To lock the session to new participants, click Participants at the bottom of the Zoom window and click the button that says Lock Meeting.
- Remove a participant. If someone who’s not meant to be in a Zoom session somehow manages to join, the host can kick that person out. In the Participants menu, hover over the participant’s name, and the Remove option (among other options) will appear. Click to remove that person from your virtual classroom, and he or she won’t be allowed back in.