With Covid-19 social distancing measures in place, almost all organisations and individuals have turned to online meeting platforms.
Zoom has been one of the most widely used tools considering its easy-to-use features. While it has some benefits, there are also risks with regard to safety and privacy, accessibility, and organisations’ confidentiality obligations. We must bear in mind that the tool that works for internal meetings or communicating with community partners may not be the one that is private or safe for communicating confidential matters.
Zoom has video chat for one-to-one or groups and has both free and paid plans. It uses both asymmetric and symmetric algorithms to encrypt a chat session. Cloud Recordings are processed and stored in Zoom’s cloud after a meeting has ended. These recordings can be password protected or available only to people in your organisation.
We are in the midst of the Chinese regime aggression on the Indian borders and despite knowing that Zoom is of the Chinese origin, people are still using it, which is a matter of concern. The above precautionary measures were given considering already subscribed members residing in India.
Zoombombing or Meeting Hijacking
Zoombombing is when bad actors join and hijack a meeting by posting explicit content or trolling the meeting. Zoom-bombings can be traumatising for participants and organisers as many instances of this have included taking over the screen to display hateful, violent, racist and anti-India content.
It becomes an issue when a meeting link is shared publicly, and there are settings to prevent it from happening. Please make a note of these settings: the public option functionality is not meant for sensitive, private information and disclosures.
If possible share the link to a meeting with known participants and do not make it public. Participants should be advised not to share links without approval to minimise the risk of hijackers accessing meetings. The best way to be more secured is to conduct a meeting with pre-registrations only, and it is not part of the free plan.
If you are using Zoom and sending links publicly, follow the below settings to prevent Zoombombing
Zoom setups to avoid Zoombombing
All of these below options can be found in the Zoom web portal under Settings.
Require a password when scheduling new meetings (Schedule Meeting)
a) This is mandatory from July 19, 2020
Mute participants upon entry (Schedule Meeting)
a) Host can control whether participants can unmute themselves
b) Host has ability to individually unmute participants in the meeting
Disable File Transfer (Basic Settings)
a) This prevents the host and participants from sending files through in-meeting chat
Control Screen Sharing (Basic Settings)
a) Change from All Participants to Host Only. This prevents someone from taking over the screen and displaying their content
Control Chat (Basic Settings)
a) Turns off ability for meeting participants to send a message visible to all participants
Prevent removed participants to re-join (Basic Settings)
a) Make sure this is not enabled. If the host has to remove someone during the meeting, this prevents them from re-joining
Establish a Waiting Room (In Advanced Settings)
a) This allows the host and co-host to monitor and control who is joining the meeting
b) This is mandatory from July 19, 2020
Create a unique meeting ID (Schedule Meeting)
Report a user as a host (Security)
a) Then select the user and fill out the appropriate information detailing why the person is being reported
Other considerations of better control during the meeting
Even if you’ve updated your settings and have been cautious with sharing your meeting information, it’s possible that a bad actor gets into your meeting. This is where turning off the screen share function for everyone but the host, disabling file sharing, and even disabling the public chat is critically important. But there are a couple of additional things you need to set up to prevent unexpected trolls from taking over.
Once a meeting or chat begins, you have the ability to lock the room and prevent anyone else from joining. Under “manage participants,” at the bottom of the screen, choose “more” then “lock room.” This may be challenging if you have people that have to drop off the meeting for a period of time and want to come back.
Enable Registrations (With Approval)
a) This feature is enabled for paid versions only
Join before host (Disable)
a) Allow participants to join the meeting before the host arrives
Mute participants upon entry (Enable)
a) Automatically mute all participants when they join the meeting
Private chat (Disable)
a) Allow meeting participants to send a private 1:1 message to another participant
Screen sharing (Only by Host)
a) Allow host and participants to share their screen or content during meetings
a) Allow host and participants to use annotation tools to add information to shared screens
Remote control (Disable)
a) During screen sharing, the person who is sharing can allow others to control the shared content
Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk Column on July 7, 2020, about “ The Impact of Technology on Human Wellbeing ” brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org
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