Zoom Update Offers New Way to Tackle Disruptive Zoombombers

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Zoom has rolled out some more security features to help call participants banish any unwanted guests from their meetings.

The software saw a massive uptick in its customer base earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to work from home. Families, too, started using the videoconferencing platform to connect with relatives and friends during stay-at-home orders.

But Zoom’s sudden popularity also saw hackers and pranksters invading people’s online calls with offensive videos or other objectionable content. Multiple security updates in recent months, as well as clearer instructions on how to set up the software, have helped to reduce the number of these so-called “Zoombombing” incidents, though there’s still a risk that some miscreants might find a way through.

With that in mind, Zoom’s latest update, released this week, should offer some peace of mind as it allows a host or co-host to quickly shut down a call to deal with an unwanted visitor or disruptive guest.

“Under the Security icon, hosts and co-hosts now have the option to temporarily pause their meeting and remove a troublesome participant,” Zoom security executive Matt Nagel said in a post about the latest update. “By clicking Suspend Participant Activities, all video, audio, in-meeting chat, annotation, screen sharing, and recording during that time will stop, and Breakout Rooms will end.”

The hosts or co-host will then be asked if they want to report the unwanted guest, or share any extra details such as a screenshot.

After clicking Submit, the reported user will be automatically removed from the meeting, and Zoom’s Trust & Safety team will receive a notification about the incident.

Hosts and co-hosts can then continue the meeting by individually re-enabling the features that they want to use. Zoom will also send the hosts an email after the meeting requesting more information about what happened.

The feature is enabled by default for all free and paid Zoom users, Nagel confirmed.

Zoom has also started using what it calls an “At-Risk Meeting Notifier” that works by scanning public social media posts and other websites for publicly shared Zoom Meeting links that can be used by hackers to invade meetings.

“When the tool detects a meeting that looks to be at high risk of being disrupted, it automatically alerts the account owner by email and provides advice on what to do,” Nagel explained. “These steps could include deleting the vulnerable meeting and creating a new one with a new meeting ID, enabling security settings, or using another Zoom solution, like Zoom Video Webinars or OnZoom.”

The executive added: “One of the best ways to keep your Zoom meeting secure is to never share your meeting ID or passcode on any public forum, including social media.”

For more on Zoom, check out this Digital Trends article offering some great ideas on how to get the most from the software.

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