Is Zoom Safe and Secure to Use?

You’ve probably seen the news out there that hackers, trolls and people out to cause havoc and harm have been “hacking” and #zoombombing into Zoom calls. The handful of situations in the news, have made many people anxious of using Video calling platforms such as Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, BlueJeans and more, but we’re here to answer some questions that we’ve already been answering this week to many people and reassuring you that the vast majority of users have no problems at all. Here’s our top tips on how you can keep yourselves safe on Zoom (and other video calling platforms).

TLDR – In short the answer to Is Zoom Safe, is yes. But just like any online platform you should conduct yourself with an element of caution and cyber security awareness.

According to Sensor Tower, by the end of March 2020, downloads in Europe had hit 65. Million!

So what’s been in the news?

We’ve seen Mac Hacks, church services and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings being join by uninvited guests (zoombombing), and Childrens School classes receiving unexpected porn.

However, these have been a combination of real “hacking” such as the hackers that found the vulnerabilities in the Zoom software – solution to that is make sure you have the latest version of the programme, as this means any “patches” to fix these faults can by update – and – the other “hacking” or “zoombombing” which actually isn’t hacking, it’s people getting access to a zoom call, uninvited, and causing disruptions in a variety of different (and sometimes horrible) ways.

This is, as Fortune’s David Morris, puts it…

“The majority of Zoom bombing attacks appear not to be the product of flaws in Zoom’s code, but rather of users’ overall cybersecurity hygiene and their imperfect command of Zoom’s privacy settings.”

In response to all this though, we have seen Zoom change it’s default options, and a host of geeks (including us) helping others understand how to use the options within Zoom to keep your calls safe and secure. Below are our top tips for keeping safe and sound on Zoom.

Top Tips to Keep Your Zoom Call Safe and Secure

1a – Don’t share your links, zoom room ID numbers or passwords with anyone you don’t want to join your call – For example, don’t do what our UK Prime Minister did, and do a Zoom Selfie with the full screen, it usually contains the Zoom room ID number…

Luckily, it didn’t show the room password on the screen!

1b – If you are running open-call workshops or charging for your online events – use a ticketing platform to register attendees, then send them a link to the zoom room so you can have a further level of security for your links.

2 – Use a meeting room password – if you share the link with someone who already has Zoom installed on their computer, they don’t even need to type the password in as the link does the clever stuff for them (even more reason not to publicly share your links!)

3 – Don’t use your Personal Zoom room – this is for personal use, you can’t change this ID, so once someone has it and the link, in theory they could join any of your future calls in that room. Always schedule or start a new meeting room.

4 – User your Settings and Optional Functions – Zoom and all video conferencing platforms have lots of different settings to help you stay safe.

We’d recommend considering the following…

  • Waiting room options (people are held in a “waiting room” before you as the host confirm they can enter)
  • Video and Microphone of Host and Guests options – choose to have people muted and video off at the start
  • Switch off “allow participants to join before host” – do you want people to be in the room if you’re not there to help?
  • Choose registered attendees only – this means that only people with registered zoom accounts can join
  • Don’t share your Zoom login details – these should be kept private, you should only share zoom meeting details only.

5 – Be careful what you share – Only share content via audio/video/chat that you would be happy for anyone to see or hear. Remember that the host can record the video call and/or save the chats. Depending on the host’s settings these can also be saved by other delegates on the call.

6 – Stay professional if it’s for work purposes –  remember it’s just like social media, all it takes is someone to use their own device or smart phone to take photos or screenshots of you. Trust who you have online calls with.

7. Don’t click links from people you don’t know – There are said to be some vulnerabilities out there where people are sending links with Trojan-horse-type spam programmes that can install into your computer or device. As always treat each link or download with caution and have good anti-virus software on all your devices.

8. Be patient – you might be a whizz at Zoom, but others on your online video call might not. After millions of people are now trying to come to terms with working from home for the foreseeable, most are dipping their toe in the waters of Zoom, so be patient, be kind, don’t snap at others because they still have their microphone on mute, maybe just gently suggest where the button might be.

CEO of Zoom, Eric S. Yuan admits…

“Our platform was built primarily for enterprise customers… we did not design the product with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home. We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.”

How We Can Help

So if you have any quick questions you can’t find the answer to, give us an email and we’ll always try and help you out with some answers and links (we are happy to do this for free, but a fair usage policy applies).

If you’d like a more in-depth and bespoke online training session for you or your teams, contact us for more information on how our online training sessions and consultations can help.

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