How to Defend You and Your Children Against “Zoombombs”

September 24, 2020
Family Safety Tips

While many of us and our children have gone back to work and school, a lot of people across the country are still dealing with blended online and in-person meetings, lectures, webinars and school lessons.The FBI continues to educate the public about the threat of “Zoombombing,” or the infiltration of malicious actors in private online meetings, and has reported over 240 instances of Zoom disruptions from March to May of this year. Many Zoombombs include broadcasted videos depicting child sexual abuse material, nudity, discriminatory images and profanity.Here are some quick tips from the OffenderWatch team to keep you and your children safe during Zoom or other web conference meetings:

  1. Meeting ID Validation

Check to make sure every Zoom call you and your children participate in has a specific meeting ID and a unique password for entry. Sending direct links to a Zoom call is the easiest way to have unwanted visitors enter the meeting if it falls into the wrong hands.Also, if you do utilize a Zoom meeting room attached to your personal meeting ID, never share this on social media. This is seen as an open invitation to enter a meeting from online trolls and predators that are out combing the internet for potential targets.

  1. Limit Screen Share Access

If you are the host, make sure to adjust settings to restrict screen sharing capabilities by default. If you need another person within a meeting to share a screen, you can allow specific permissions when it is necessary while in the meeting.

  1. Utilize Waiting Rooms

By prescreening guests upon entry, most unknown visitors will not be able to drop in when they are unwanted. To adjust this setting, go to your master account settings, go to the “Meetings” tab and click on “Waiting Room” options to make it the default for all meetings.Make sure to also disable the option that allows others to join before the host. This should be disabled by default, but make sure to check your settings to confirm.

  1. Lock the Meeting

Once everyone has joined the meeting, a host can simply lock it from allowing additional individuals to join. While this may not prevent the deftest of hackers, it will stop most rogue actors.

  1. In Case of a Zoombomb

Say that you’ve followed all of the advice listed above and an unknown individual has entered the Zoom meeting. Stay calm and immediately go to the “Participants List” in the navigation sidebar and click “Mute All Controls” to prevent unwelcome audio. Then, on the same menu, click the “Lock Meeting” section to begin removing an unwanted participant.To prevent future unwanted events, Zoom has recently created a new K-12 program that heavily restricts screen share access to meeting attendees. They’ve also offered additional training services to equip educators for remote and hybrid learning environments that are accessible through their website.

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