Zoom-bombers: A Guide on Preventing and Managing Them
Many of us are probably aware of the concept of Zoom-bombing, demonstrated by the effervescent Hamish Blake seen here:
As entertaining as this is, not all randoms who join Zoom calls are funny, nice people, and some are there to disrupt and cause disarray. Hopefully, this document is fairly self-explanatory in what it seeks to do in minimise potential harm that Zoom-bombers can have in your meeting. It includes measures you can take in advance to try and prevent Zoom-bombing, as well some responsive steps to particular forms of Zoom-bombing during a meeting. General advice would be to take as many preemptive steps as you can afford to and where you are allowing interactivity, to know how to disable that if necessary.
First Things First
How do you Access and Adjust your settings?
Log in to your Zoom account
Click on your initials in the top-right corner of the window
Click on ‘settings’
Your internet browser should open and you’ll be taken to the zoom website where you can adjust individual settings
Navigate to the 'In Meeting' settings
What are quick and easy responses?
During the meeting there is a security button on the control bar for the Host. In this you can immediately turn off chat, screen-sharing and annotating. Very handy!
What Long Term Settings Could I Adjust?
While chat allows participants to communicate with each other, participants can also spam it with disruptive and sometimes offensive messages
The Host can choose in meeting whether participants may chat to "No-one", "Host Only", "Everyone publicly", or "Everyone publicly and privately".
If you are having difficulty, the host should change to "No-one" or "Host Only".
These options are found during the meeting when hitting the "more" button in the Chat tab
Screen sharing is great, but people can share unwanted things when Zoom-bombing
There are multiple easy responses to screen-sharing fiends:
Under the security button, disable Screen sharing
There is an arrow next to the green Share Screen button, there is an option for Advanced Options. In this setting you can set it that only the host can share their screen
You can preemptively only let hosts or co-hosts share, and make those who will need to share their screens a Co-Host of the meeting.
Sometimes great, sometimes shocking, this enables participants to draw or make additions to your shared screen
Note these settings are only available if you have ‘annotation’ turned on at the start of the meeting
Once you have started screen sharing, select ‘More’ on the bar that appears
You can use one of two functions:
Click ‘Disable Attendee Annotation’ to stop participants from annotating
Click ‘show names of annotators’ to allow participants to annotate, but their names will be displayed next to any annotations that they make
This could be an effective way to identify Zoom-bombers, however, it may be preferable to prevent them from annotating at all
Image: Pexels, Andrea Piacquadio
During the meeting the Host can go to the participants button, and choose to "Mute All". You can choose whether participants can un-mute themselves or need your permission as Host.
You can also mute an individual by hovering over their name in the Participants section.
Participant Renaming Function
While often used in good fun and jest, participants can rename themselves, sometimes making it hard to identify Zoom-bombers
If needed, under the security button, you can check the option for people to rename themselves. Having their real name visible is often a big discouragement for acting rudely in public
Stop Removed Participants from Rejoining
The sad reality is that once Zoom-bombers have been caught and removed, they might rejoin and go for it again. If this happens, we suggest turning on this setting. It can be found in the browser settings under "In Meeting: Basic". This cannot be done during a meeting.
Content Prepared by Alex Kiefer and Chris Tompkins