Zoom: Best Practices to Prevent "Zoombombing"

The rise of online classes has led to a new form of heckling known as "Zoombombing," when unintended people join your virtual class session and disrupt your class.  These "Zoombombers" are not usually students in class, as faculty can enforce academic consequences for misbehavior.  Rather, these are usually people external to the class or university who are looking to cause chaos without personal consequence.

The first and best thing you can do is to be careful about where you & your class distribute links.  Most of these incidents happen when faculty or students post videoconferencing links in public places, such as social media.  Simply avoiding this will prevent unknown persons from joining your class.

Apart from that, you can also change the settings below to make your Zoom meetings more secure and controlled.  Please keep in mind that increased security also results in decreased convenience.  For example, enabling the "Waiting Room" feature allows more control over who can enter a meeting; however it also requires the host to manually admit every participant.  Similarly, turning on "Only Authenticated Users Can Join" ensures only users logged in with an APU email can join your class.  However if a students uses a computer where they are not already logged in, or are logged into a Zoom account using their personal email address, it could delay their ability to join.

All that said, be aware of what settings you enable, and what it will look like for the operation of your class.  Every option below will make your class more secure, but also require more active management.

  • In a web browser, sign into your Zoom account.
  • Click on "Settings" on the left sidebar. Under "Meeting Settings," scroll down and adjust the following:
    • Turn off "Join before host."
    • Turn on "Only Authenticated Users Can Join."
    • Turn on require a password:
      • "When scheduling meetings"
      • "For Instant Meetings"
      • "For personal meeting ID (PMI)."  Check "all meetings using PMI" and press save.
    • Turn off "File Transfer."
    • Under "Screen Share," confirm the following:
      • "Who can share" is set to "all participants"
      • "Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing" is set to "host only"
      • Turn on "Disable desktop/screen share for users."
      • Turn off "annotation
      • Turn off "white board"
      • Turn off "allow removed participants to rejoin."
  • To edit individual meeting settings, navigate to the top of the screen.  Click "Meetings" on the left sideboard.
  • Under "Upcoming meetings," click "edit this meeting."
    • Under "Meeting options," turn off "enable join before host."
    • Turn on "Mute participants upon entry."
    • Turn on "Enable waiting room
    • Turn on "Only authenticated users can join" if you want your users to log in to their personal Zoom accounts, rather than simply joining from a link.
    • Scroll down and press  "Save."

For additional help, check out these articles and videos:

Consumer Reports - How To Prevent Zoom Bombing

Zoom - Best Practices for Security Your Virtual Classroom

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    Viann Duncan

    Just read the NPR article about zoombombing. This article was very helpful in helping to prevent that. Thanks.

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