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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Zoom calls: Follow these simple steps to secure your meetings

We explain some tips to keep in mind when using Zoom calls so as to ensure they remain secure and free of Zoombombing

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Published: April 7, 2020 7:11:36 pm
Zoom calls and how to keep them secure Zoom video calling: Here’s how to make your meetings more secure. (Image source: Bloomberg)

Zoom calls appear to be the new way of life for many of us given the lockdown in India and other countries. It’s not just limited to enterprises; many others are using the service to make video calls, whether it is for educational purposes or to host cookery classes together or even book club meetings.

But Zoom has also been under the scanner over its privacy settings and problems with incidents of Zoombombing being reported where uninvited participants have taken over a meeting and shared objectionable content. Zoom also announced some measures to ensure the safety of its users, especially the newer ones. For one, Waiting Rooms are now turned on by default in Zoom meetings. We explain some tips to keep in mind when using Zoom calls.

The Waiting Room is important

Zoom had this feature for a while, but given the recent rise in popularity, it is now turned on by default. What this means is that as a host when you send out the links to a meeting, everyone does not join automatically, as it was the case earlier. Instead everyone is added to the ‘Waiting Room’.

The advantage is you can go through all the names in the ‘Waiting Room’ and then approve people one-by-one. This is especially useful if your Zoom meeting includes more than 10 people, where it can be difficult to keep track of who all are entering. Utilising the waiting room well will ensure that Zoombombers are at least left out.

Don’t let everyone share their screen

If hosting meetings, you can ensure that only you can share the screen. This is a good way to avoid chaos, especially if someone else manages to sneak in, despite the waiting room. Screen sharing allows you to display a presentation or notes to all the other participants in the meeting. But as it has been seen in Zoombombings, uninvited elements take over the screen and often share objectionable content.

In order to ensure this does not happen, make sure the Share Screen option is at the right setting. Just tap the slider next to the Share Screen option and a number of settings should open up.

Also read: Zoombombing is seeing trolls take over Zoom video calls: Here’s what happens

In here, choose Only Host for who can Share Screen. The option should also be limited to the Host for setting: ‘Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing.’

You can allow others to share their screen if you have other team members presenting, but make sure this is limited to only one participant at a time. This will ensure that not everyone is presenting at the same time and maintain some decorum for the meeting.

Use passwords

When you generate a meeting link on Zoom, you can also make passwords compulsory. A password is generated for each meeting, though it gets embedded in the link by default and this is what allows others to join the meeting without having to enter the password each time.

You can log into the Zoom portal online and change the account settings around passwords. These changes have to be made on the desktop browser.

Go to Account Management, then click Account Settings. Navigate to the Meeting tab and choose the password settings you want to use for your account.

Read more: Zoom routing some calls via servers in China, here’s what company has to say

You can ensure that the password is not embedded in the meeting link when it is sent out, and the password will be sent separately as well.  Security experts also suggest that when sending the Zoom meeting link, don’t send the password to the same email ID. Send both via a different medium so that in case the link gets accessed by someone else, they won’t get the password. 

Zoom also lets participants join an audio call via phone, and in the Account Settings you can ensure that these participants also require a password.

Also read:  Zoom’s boom coincides with spike in bugs, vulnerabilities and privacy issues; what you need to know

Turn off File Transfer, Lock the Meeting

You can turn off File Transfer option from the Account Settings, settings similar to how you can control the password settings. You will need to go Account Management > Account Settings.

Then navigate to the File Transfer option on the Meeting tab and toggle it off, since it is enabled by default. This ensures that if by some means an unwanted person does enter the meeting, they can at least be stopped from sharing malicious files via chat, which someone else might download.

You can also lock a meeting after it has started. This will ensure that new participants cannot join after the meeting starts. Just click on Security after a meeting starts, and lock it.

Work from Home appears to be the norm for many of us. We at Indian Express tech have some articles which could help make this easier. First, how to optimise your WiFi, which is really important. Read on that here. Next, we explain how to save data on WhatsApp given we might be using a lot more of this. Then we explain how you can balance screen time while doing work from home. Also these video calling apps can be useful when relying on work from home. Don’t let it be all about work, you can rely on these fitness apps to continue that workout during the lockdown. And finally some general tips to keep in mind while working from home.

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