Zoom Has Changed Security Measures To Prevent Zoom-Bombing, But What Actually Is It?

And how can you improve your own cyber-security measures?

Woman video-conferencing

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Zoom has announced new security measures to prevent strangers entering publicly shared video calls, it was announced this weekend. The phenomenon, known as ‘zoom-bombing’, has come to attention since downloads of the video-conferencing app skyrocketed amid the coronavirus crisis.

What is zoom-bombing?

Zoom-bombing is when someone hacks into a meeting and appears on the screen uninvited. It has been increasingly prevalent in the US, in particular.

While for some, zoom-bombing is a silly prank, it has resulted in more serious invasions of privacy. For example, there have been reports of groups or individuals zoom-bombing Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and high-level government gatherings. In some examples, hackers have shouted abuse or racial slurs or have put disturbing images on their video feed.

How does it happen?

Typically, zoom-bombings happen in public meetings, which can be accessed by anyone using the correct link. If public meeting links are posted onto social media forums, say in Facebook groups, hackers can easily find them. There are also reports of specific Reddit forums where meeting IDs are posted – those have now been banned by Reddit according to Fortune.

How can I stop zoom-bombing?

It’s all about better cyber-security practice, rather than an actual issue with the app. Zoom has a detailed guide on keeping meetings safe but stresses that you shouldn’t share meeting links publicly.

You can also set your Zoom meeting to private and require attendees to enter a password. Since zoom-bombing incidents have increased, Zoom has set all meetings to private by default, with passwords required. Virtual waiting rooms have been created, where the host will have the option to grant access to the waiting person.

You also have a personal meeting ID attached to your Zoom account, which the company recommends you do not share publicly as it is linked to what is essentially a permanent virtual meeting room. So, only share it with those you trust. There is also the option of using a one-time meeting ID when you schedule meetings in the future.

You can contact Zoom directly to have your ID changed if you’ve already shared it on a public forum.

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