Video conferencing has become the way we work, learn, and gather with family and friends in the COVID era. Unfortunately, bad actors may try to spoil the party.
Hackers can do more than simply interrupt video conversations -- they may also share files containing spyware or other malware. In response, the video-conferencing software provider Zoom recently rolled out technology that is "continuously scanning public posts on social media and other public sites for Zoom meeting links," according to a November 2020 post from ZDNet. When a link is found, the "At-Risk Meeting Notifier" warns the meeting host that bad actors may be able to "Zoom Bomb," or crash, their meeting.
To avoid uninvited guests:
- Password-protect your video conference calls: The software generally will include the password along with the meeting ID number when you send out invitations.
- Use randomly generated meeting ID numbers. Your software may keep the same meeting ID for all meetings that you host. Reusing the same ID makes it easier to target your meetings. Instead, choose the software's randomly generated ID number feature.
- Change the settings so the "host" must log in before anyone else. Doing this prevents anyone from sneaking into the meeting ahead of time, before anyone is there to stop them.
- Use the "waiting room" feature to screen participants. This acts as a filter enabling the host to let in only those who have been invited.
- Lock the meeting when all invited participants have logged in. This helps prevent those who may have found your meeting randomly, or via hacked emails, from gaining access.
- Turn off file sharing and screen sharing unless you intend to use it. You can always turn it back on again later. Having it "off" as the default setting may keep unwanted attendees from spreading undesirable files or software.
- Keep your video conferencing software up to date. Companies continue to look for potential vulnerabilities, and offer fixes when they find them. Be sure to only update the software via the company's website, or using built in auto update tools.