How to secure your online meetings

How to secure your online meetings

You may have seen news stories or talk in forums about "zoombombing" and heard tales of online spaces being hacked and disrupted. Articles abound with headlines like "Zoombombers Disrupt Classes," or "FBI Warns Video Calls Are Being Hacked." What does this really mean?

Basically, if you tell everyone how to join your meeting, or if you hold your meeting in a space anyone can join, you risk having a random person disrupt your meeting. It's also possible for people who are supposed to be there to behave poorly, of course. So, what can you do? The specific things you need to do vary from application to application, but some things are true everywhere:

  • Do not hold meetings that the public can join.
  • Do not share links to your meetings publicly.
  • Do not share passwords or pin numbers.
  • As the host of the meeting, make sure you limit the control the guests have over the meeting.
  • Know how to kick people out of a meeting, should it come to that.

For Zoom, here are some specific steps you should take:

Most of the attention has been on Zoom, in part because it is a popular application and because it is not currently officially supported by the university, but you have to be careful no matter what application you use. The university supports Blackboard Collaborate and WebEx, for instance, both of which are still subject to potential unwanted visits. Always follow the general advice we gave above, but also:

For Collaborate:

For WebEx:

This is not a comprehensive description of everything you can do to secure your meetings, but if you follow these steps you should be able to avoid the problems you're seeing in those headlines. Please let us know if we have left out any important tips, and, as always, the CHSSWeb team is here if you need us.