How to Keep Zoom Calls Safe From Zoombombers

From Twitter to Zoom, trolls are everywhere.

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How to Keep Zoom Calls Safe From Zoombombers

Zoom has become an overnight success as millions are using the app to communicate

Highlights
  • Zoombombing is an incident where an uninvited person joins a Zoom call
  • The troll intends to disrupt a call by sharing graphic content
  • It often leads to abrupt ending of meetings

Zoom's video conferencing service has grown unbelievably in the number of users as people across the globe are forced to stay indoors due to the coronavirus outbreak. Zoom has grown from being an obscure app used only by some businesses, to the number one app on Google Play. The Zoom iOS app went from 50,000 daily downloads to two million a day, according to ABC7News. The tool, launched in 2013, is in use by families, professionals, students, and businesses to connect with each other while staying under isolation.

In an interview with ABC7News, Zoom founder Eric Yuan said that he never imagined his platform would be used beyond business and education, for virtual happy hours, workouts, etc.

While on the one hand, Zoom has attracted users, on the other, its popularity surge has also invited trolls, who “Zoombomb” video conferencing calls in order to cause disruption. Zoombombing is where an uninvited person joins a Zoom conference call and uses the screen-sharing feature to disrupt the call. It happens after trolls get the public link to the call, which allows anyone to join, and use them to make mischief. It has often led to abrupt ending to meetings midway. “We did encounter an unwanted ‘Zoombomb' during one of our sessions so we moved our latest performances to a different platform,” a Chipotle executive told the New York Times.

However, there are simple steps that you can take to avoid facing such a situation. If you are a Web user, first go to Settings. There, scroll down to Screen Sharing. Under Who can share? click Host Only and click on Save. From now onwards, screen-sharing will be switched off by default.

Even after the beginning of the Zoom meeting, there is a way to change the setting. During a Zoom meeting, click the caret to the right of the Share Screen button at the bottom. Here, go to Advanced Sharing Options. You can disable screen-sharing by clicking on Host Only under Who Can Share?

If you are using the mobile app, tap the options button (...) at the bottom right corner and select Meeting Settings. The iPhone users can turn off the “Allow Participants to Share” option and Android users can turn off Lock Share.


How are we staying sane during this Coronavirus lockdown? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Further reading: Zoom, Zoombombing
Prabhakar Thakur A news junkie and politics buff, he now talks tech. He misses the days when he used to play NFS Most Wanted and Counter-Strike non-stop with his school friends. More
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