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How to Secure Zoom and Stop Zoom-bombing

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path by rating it at the end.

Introduction

Zoom has been a great tool in helping us work, learn, and socialize during this pandemic.

As more legitimate users join the platform, it's inevitable that trolls with bad intentions tag along.

Zoom-bombing is typically when someone you don’t know comes into your meeting and essentially ruins it. Their sole purpose is to antagonize others in the meeting for their own amusement. Their tricks typically include sharing pornography on their screens, yelling over others, and drawing offensive annotations.

While it's relatively easy to get into a meeting, it's also easy to secure those meetings!

Here are the instructions all Zoom hosts need:

  • Password protect your meeting.
  • Create a waiting room to control who enters.
  • Stop unwanted screen sharing.
  • Turn off "join before host" so the meeting doesn't start without you.
  • Lock a meeting so no one else can enter.
Zoom banner

1 Enable a Password

The easiest way to secure all of your Zoom meetings is to make sure they have a password set. This way, without a proper meeting invitation, uninvited guests can't just hop into your meeting(s) unannounced. As of April 4th 2020, Zoom has enabled the following password settings by default for newly created meetings:

  • Require a password when scheduling new meetings (which also applies to webinars)
  • Require a password for instant meetings
  • Require password for participants joining by phone

Make sure your meetings require a password

  1. Log into your Zoom account @ https://zoom.us/, then select My Account.
    My account selection
  2. Click Settings, then click Meeting.
    Setting selection
  3. Scroll down until you reach meeting password settings beginning with Require a password when scheduling new meetings. Including this one, the next few settings involve when a password should be required for participants to join your meetings. As mentioned above, we recommend making sure the following options are toggled on:
    • Require a password when scheduling new meetings
    • Require a password for instant meetings
    • Require password for participants joining by phone
      Password control

      We recommend browsing other meeting settings that may interest you from a security standpoint. While getting a password enabled is the most important feature we're highlighting, there are other security-based settings here that may also suit your meeting needs.

  4. Once these options have been enabled, all new meeting invites will include the updated password requirements. However, we urge you to keep the following in-mind if you had meetings scheduled that did not previously require a password:
    • If these meetings were scheduled using an automatically generated meeting ID, they will need to be deleted and re-created. Unfortunately, there is no way to edit these meetings to require a password once they've been created.
    • If these meetings were scheduled using you PMI (Personal Meeting ID), these meetings do not need to be deleted and re-created. Meeting attendees can be made aware of the password before the scheduled date and time, or the existing meeting can be deleted and re-created. New meeting invites will either include the password in the meeting link, or will be included in the new meeting invitation.

Now that your meetings have been secured

Your meeting password can be found easily

As the meeting host, your meeting's password will always be displayed on-screen. This may come in-handy if a meeting attendee is being prompted for a password, and asks you for it.

Password field

Consider additional security settings

As we mentioned above, there are additional security settings that can help make your meetings more secure. One such setting prevents Zoom from generating a meeting link that automatically inputs the meeting's password. Because the meeting password is automatically included in this link, anyone with that link can join your meeting. Disabling this feature will require that users have both a link to the meeting and manually insert the meeting password when prompted. This will make your meetings far more secure.

  1. Select My Account.
    My account selection
  2. Select Settings and Meeting.
    Setting selection
  3. Look for a setting titled Embed Password in meeting link for one-click join. If you do not want Zoom to generate meeting links with the password already input, make sure this setting has been toggled off.
    Embed password in meeting link for one click join

Avoid posting your meeting publicly

As the title states, always avoid posting your meeting details in a place that is accessible to the general public, such as a forum, social media post, etc. Due to their public nature, anyone with internet access can potentially stumble upon your meeting invite link. This is a huge security and privacy risk. Limit your meeting invitations to the email messages that Zoom sends out by default when meetings are created. Discourage meeting attendees from sharing the meeting URL as well.

What a meeting attendee will see

After your meetings have been password-locked, any meeting attendees who use your PMI (Personal Meeting ID) link to join a meeting will be prompted for the newly set password. If a new meeting invitation was sent, the attendee will receive the meeting password in the invitation. If no new meeting invitations were sent, the user will need to be made aware of what the password is and enter it before they can successfully join your meeting.

Entering meeting password

2 Create a Waiting Room

Creating a waiting room for your meetings is a great way to make sure that you have total awareness of what happens during the meetings you've scheduled. Once you've joined your meeting as the host, you'll be able to grant access to each meeting participant as they join. This way, you're able to be fully aware and cognizant of who's joined your meeting and who has yet to arrive.

Enable the waiting room feature before your next meeting

  1. Make sure you're logged into your Zoom account @ https://zoom.us/.
  2. Select My Account.
    My account selection
  3. Click Settings, then click Meeting.
    Setting selection
  4. Scroll down until you see the Waiting room feature beneath the In Meeting (Advanced) header. If you decide to enable this feature, you'll be able to choose between All participants or Guest participants only.
    • The All participants setting will place all attendees into the waiting room and will allow you as the host to admit each one manually.
    • The Guest participants only setting will only place those meeting attendees who aren't recognized as a member of your organization into the waiting room. This can be less of a hassle and act as a safety net to keep out those who you don't recognize from attending.
      Waiting room selection

After the waiting room has been enabled

Alternatively, the waiting room setting can be turned on or off while in a meeting

  1. Select the new Security button.
    The new zoom security button
  2. A menu will appear allowing you to toggle the Waiting Room setting. Clicking the Enable waiting room option will toggle it on or off, as denoted by the check mark.
    Enabling waiting room

Admit participants into your meeting

  1. Select Participants.
    The participants selections in the zoom menu
  2. In the participants list, you can choose to allow one person at a time by clicking Admit.
    Admitting one person
  3. Or, if you recognize all of the waiting participants, you can admit them all at once by clicking Admit all.
    Admit all

What a meeting attendee will see

  1. If a meeting attendee joins a meeting where a waiting room has been enabled, they will receive the following message. They will see the following screen until the host admits them into the meeting.
    Waiting room

3 Prevent Unauthorized Screen Sharing

Due to the nature of Zoom being a collaborative video conferencing software option, it is designed so that all meeting attendees can share the contents of their computer screen. If as the meeting host, you worry about anyone sharing something inappropriate with the group, there are ways to limit the ability of meeting attendees from sharing their screens. There are two ways to do this:

Using the Security button

  1. The latest addition to Zoom is the Security button. Clicking it will open a small menu. Under the Allow participants to: header, you can choose whether or not you'd like to allow meeting attendees to be able to share their screens, or change their names within the participants list. This can prevent users from sharing inappropriate things to the entire group, or changing their name to something equally inappropriate.
    Disable share screen

Using the Share Screen button

  1. While you're in a meeting, click the Arrow to the right of the Share Screen button.
    The share screen button in zoom
  2. A small menu will appear. Click Advanced Sharing Options and a window will appear.
    The advanced sharing options under share screen in the zoom menu
  3. Under the Who can share? heading, select the Only Host option. This ensures that only the meeting host can share their screen.
    Only the host selected

4 Additional Tips to Keep Your Meeting Safe

As was previously mentioned, there are some additional security options available for Zoom that may interest you if they provide the kind of additional security you'd like for your meetings.

Disable join before host

The join before host feature is one that allows meeting attendees to join a scheduled meeting before the host arrives. This can pose an issue, as all the attendees of a meeting can be present without the host present to keep things orderly and under control. We highly recommend disabling the 'Join before host' feature for that reason.

  1. Make sure you're logged into your Zoom account @ https://zoom.us/.
  2. Select My Account.
    My account selection
  3. Click Settings, then click Meeting.
    Setting selection
  4. Scroll down until you see the Join before host option under the Schedule meeting section. If you do not want other meeting attendees to be able to join your meetings before you do as the meeting host, ensure this option is toggled off.
    Join before meeting setting disabled

Lock meetings once all participants have joined

A good practice is also to lock your meeting once all the necessary participants have joined. This ensures that no additional users can join the meeting at all, even if they have the meeting password. Locking meetings is something that only the host can do once the meeting has begun.

  1. With the addition of the Security button, the Lock Meeting feature can be found and toggled on and off easily by clicking the Security shield.
    Locking a meeting

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Zoom has been a great tool in helping us work, learn, and socialize during this pandemic.

As more legitimate users join the platform, it's inevitable that trolls with bad intentions tag along.

Zoom-bombing is typically when someone you don’t know comes into your meeting and essentially ruins it. Their sole purpose is to antagonize others in the meeting for their own amusement. Their tricks typically include sharing pornography on their screens, yelling over others, and drawing offensive annotations.

While it's relatively easy to get into a meeting, it's also easy to secure those meetings!

Here are the instructions all Zoom hosts need:

  • Password protect your meeting.
  • Create a waiting room to control who enters.
  • Stop unwanted screen sharing.
  • Turn off "join before host" so the meeting doesn't start without you.
  • Lock a meeting so no one else can enter.
Zoom banner

The easiest way to secure all of your Zoom meetings is to make sure they have a password set. This way, without a proper meeting invitation, uninvited guests can't just hop into your meeting(s) unannounced. As of April 4th 2020, Zoom has enabled the following password settings by default for newly created meetings:

  • Require a password when scheduling new meetings (which also applies to webinars)
  • Require a password for instant meetings
  • Require password for participants joining by phone

Make sure your meetings require a password

  1. Log into your Zoom account @ https://zoom.us/, then select My Account.
    My account selection
  2. Click Settings, then click Meeting.
    Setting selection
  3. Scroll down until you reach meeting password settings beginning with Require a password when scheduling new meetings. Including this one, the next few settings involve when a password should be required for participants to join your meetings. As mentioned above, we recommend making sure the following options are toggled on:
    • Require a password when scheduling new meetings
    • Require a password for instant meetings
    • Require password for participants joining by phone
      Password control

      We recommend browsing other meeting settings that may interest you from a security standpoint. While getting a password enabled is the most important feature we're highlighting, there are other security-based settings here that may also suit your meeting needs.

  4. Once these options have been enabled, all new meeting invites will include the updated password requirements. However, we urge you to keep the following in-mind if you had meetings scheduled that did not previously require a password:
    • If these meetings were scheduled using an automatically generated meeting ID, they will need to be deleted and re-created. Unfortunately, there is no way to edit these meetings to require a password once they've been created.
    • If these meetings were scheduled using you PMI (Personal Meeting ID), these meetings do not need to be deleted and re-created. Meeting attendees can be made aware of the password before the scheduled date and time, or the existing meeting can be deleted and re-created. New meeting invites will either include the password in the meeting link, or will be included in the new meeting invitation.

Now that your meetings have been secured

Your meeting password can be found easily

As the meeting host, your meeting's password will always be displayed on-screen. This may come in-handy if a meeting attendee is being prompted for a password, and asks you for it.

Password field

Consider additional security settings

As we mentioned above, there are additional security settings that can help make your meetings more secure. One such setting prevents Zoom from generating a meeting link that automatically inputs the meeting's password. Because the meeting password is automatically included in this link, anyone with that link can join your meeting. Disabling this feature will require that users have both a link to the meeting and manually insert the meeting password when prompted. This will make your meetings far more secure.

  1. Select My Account.
    My account selection
  2. Select Settings and Meeting.
    Setting selection
  3. Look for a setting titled Embed Password in meeting link for one-click join. If you do not want Zoom to generate meeting links with the password already input, make sure this setting has been toggled off.
    Embed password in meeting link for one click join

Avoid posting your meeting publicly

As the title states, always avoid posting your meeting details in a place that is accessible to the general public, such as a forum, social media post, etc. Due to their public nature, anyone with internet access can potentially stumble upon your meeting invite link. This is a huge security and privacy risk. Limit your meeting invitations to the email messages that Zoom sends out by default when meetings are created. Discourage meeting attendees from sharing the meeting URL as well.

What a meeting attendee will see

After your meetings have been password-locked, any meeting attendees who use your PMI (Personal Meeting ID) link to join a meeting will be prompted for the newly set password. If a new meeting invitation was sent, the attendee will receive the meeting password in the invitation. If no new meeting invitations were sent, the user will need to be made aware of what the password is and enter it before they can successfully join your meeting.

Entering meeting password

Creating a waiting room for your meetings is a great way to make sure that you have total awareness of what happens during the meetings you've scheduled. Once you've joined your meeting as the host, you'll be able to grant access to each meeting participant as they join. This way, you're able to be fully aware and cognizant of who's joined your meeting and who has yet to arrive.

Enable the waiting room feature before your next meeting

  1. Make sure you're logged into your Zoom account @ https://zoom.us/.
  2. Select My Account.
    My account selection
  3. Click Settings, then click Meeting.
    Setting selection
  4. Scroll down until you see the Waiting room feature beneath the In Meeting (Advanced) header. If you decide to enable this feature, you'll be able to choose between All participants or Guest participants only.
    • The All participants setting will place all attendees into the waiting room and will allow you as the host to admit each one manually.
    • The Guest participants only setting will only place those meeting attendees who aren't recognized as a member of your organization into the waiting room. This can be less of a hassle and act as a safety net to keep out those who you don't recognize from attending.
      Waiting room selection

After the waiting room has been enabled

Alternatively, the waiting room setting can be turned on or off while in a meeting

  1. Select the new Security button.
    The new zoom security button
  2. A menu will appear allowing you to toggle the Waiting Room setting. Clicking the Enable waiting room option will toggle it on or off, as denoted by the check mark.
    Enabling waiting room

Admit participants into your meeting

  1. Select Participants.
    The participants selections in the zoom menu
  2. In the participants list, you can choose to allow one person at a time by clicking Admit.
    Admitting one person
  3. Or, if you recognize all of the waiting participants, you can admit them all at once by clicking Admit all.
    Admit all

What a meeting attendee will see

  1. If a meeting attendee joins a meeting where a waiting room has been enabled, they will receive the following message. They will see the following screen until the host admits them into the meeting.
    Waiting room

Due to the nature of Zoom being a collaborative video conferencing software option, it is designed so that all meeting attendees can share the contents of their computer screen. If as the meeting host, you worry about anyone sharing something inappropriate with the group, there are ways to limit the ability of meeting attendees from sharing their screens. There are two ways to do this:

Using the Security button

  1. The latest addition to Zoom is the Security button. Clicking it will open a small menu. Under the Allow participants to: header, you can choose whether or not you'd like to allow meeting attendees to be able to share their screens, or change their names within the participants list. This can prevent users from sharing inappropriate things to the entire group, or changing their name to something equally inappropriate.
    Disable share screen

Using the Share Screen button

  1. While you're in a meeting, click the Arrow to the right of the Share Screen button.
    The share screen button in zoom
  2. A small menu will appear. Click Advanced Sharing Options and a window will appear.
    The advanced sharing options under share screen in the zoom menu
  3. Under the Who can share? heading, select the Only Host option. This ensures that only the meeting host can share their screen.
    Only the host selected

As was previously mentioned, there are some additional security options available for Zoom that may interest you if they provide the kind of additional security you'd like for your meetings.

Disable join before host

The join before host feature is one that allows meeting attendees to join a scheduled meeting before the host arrives. This can pose an issue, as all the attendees of a meeting can be present without the host present to keep things orderly and under control. We highly recommend disabling the 'Join before host' feature for that reason.

  1. Make sure you're logged into your Zoom account @ https://zoom.us/.
  2. Select My Account.
    My account selection
  3. Click Settings, then click Meeting.
    Setting selection
  4. Scroll down until you see the Join before host option under the Schedule meeting section. If you do not want other meeting attendees to be able to join your meetings before you do as the meeting host, ensure this option is toggled off.
    Join before meeting setting disabled

Lock meetings once all participants have joined

A good practice is also to lock your meeting once all the necessary participants have joined. This ensures that no additional users can join the meeting at all, even if they have the meeting password. Locking meetings is something that only the host can do once the meeting has begun.

  1. With the addition of the Security button, the Lock Meeting feature can be found and toggled on and off easily by clicking the Security shield.
    Locking a meeting