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Understanding the Recent Security Changes in Zoom

Last updated on April 24, 2020

With the global coronavirus pandemic, there is a huge increase in home working and people are turning to software like Microsoft Teams and Zoom to conduct business, consult with doctors, or keep in touch with friends.

There has been a lot of media in the last week about the security of Zoom meeting and whilst my advice is to migrate to Microsoft Teams I promised a colleague that I would send her the basics of security against what is been termed “Zoom Bombing”.

Zoom Bombing is essentially the ability of unwelcome ‘guests’ entering a conference and harassing attendees or otherwise disrupting a private meeting.

In the last few days Zoom has been rolling out changes to prevent this practice but I would still advise users to double-check their meetings going forward and some users maybe don’t understand why things have changed, so I hope to quickly explain what has changed and why.

The Zoom Bombing risk comes from the URL used to join meetings which has the Meeting ID embedded into the URL.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/316XXX0410
Meeting ID: 316 XXX 0410

Note: I have changed my meeting ID and turned off passwords for the purposes of this document.

Zoom Bombing is essentially guessing the meeting ID and ‘dropping in’ unannounced.

So, if you are using your Personal Meeting ID as shown above click edit and make sure that you set a password and Enable waiting room.

If you are scheduling meeting individually then the process is similar. Make sure you have a password and enable the waiting room.

The password is added to the end of your meeting URL in an encoded manner so clicking on the URL does not require the user to enter the password, but it does prevent unwanted guests.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/316XXX0410?pwd=SUlEcDYyQWNLSU9BZThFMzJvT1NPUT09
Meeting ID: 316 XXX 0410
Password: 12345

The waiting room gives you control over who enters the meeting.

When someone joins the meeting, they will receive a message that a host will let them in soon.

As the meeting host, you will receive notification that someone is in the meeting room and you can admit them straight away or view the waiting room.

If you view the waiting room, you will see a list of people waiting and you can admit or remove them.

Whilst in a meeting you can view the participants and put individuals back in the waiting room or remove them.

I hope that explains the changes and how the waiting room works and gives you the ability to manage your meeting work effectively.

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