How To Stay Protected While Using Zoom

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant spike in the number of people using video conferencing software, and Zoom is definitely one of the more popular platforms out there. Whether employees are using it to maintain regular face-to-face virtual meetings or friends are looking for a way to connect with each other while abiding by social distancing rules, the popularity of Zoom shows no sign of slowing down. 

It’s not all been good news, though. A recent phenomenon known as ‘zoom-bombing,’ which involves a video call being interrupted by an uninvited individual, has become a major issue for the software provider. Knowing the kind of disruption it can cause, internet trolls have actually started using Zoom to cause deliberate disruption. So what can users do about it? 

How to Keep Zoom Meetings Safe 

Zoom is safe to use as long as you know how to use it properly. If you’re using a free version of Zoom – which let’s be honest, most people are – there are a number of steps you can take to protect your online privacy. 

Keep Video Calls Password Protected 

Using a unique meeting ID and password is one of the most effective ways of making sure your video calls aren’t rudely interrupted. Once you’ve set up a meeting on Zoom, anyone with a link to that meeting will be able to access it. Because this link can be easily shared from person to person, it’s one of the most common reasons why so many Zoom meetings are being disrupted by strangers. 

Instead of setting up a meeting and then sharing a link URL with everyone you want to attend, generate a separate password instead. You can do this by scheduling a meeting by clicking on ‘My Account’ and entering the time and date as usual. Once you generate your meeting ID, make sure ‘require a password’ is checked and click save. You’ll be given a password or can create your own. This will make sure everyone trying to access your chat will only be able to enter with the password – even if they have the meeting link URL. 

Utilize Waiting Rooms 

Setting up a waiting room is an excellent way of monitoring who’s entering your meeting. As the name suggests, every meeting participant will have to join a virtual waiting room before they’re connected to the meeting. They’ll wait here until the host of the meeting allows them to join the call. 

Lock Video Calls Once They’ve Started 

Did you know that you can lock your video calls once everyone you’re expecting has arrived? There’s no point in having your meeting rooms open if you’re not waiting for anyone else to join, so get into the habit of locking your calls. To do this, select ‘manage participants’ and then choose ‘more’ at the bottom of the sidebar. You’ll see an option to lock the meeting; simply select this and click save before exiting.

Use a VPN 

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) will reroute all of your internet traffic to a private server through an encrypted network. There are lots of ways that hackers may have found their way into your Zoom meeting. If you’ve been sharing information on a public network or one that’s not adequately protected, they could easily be watching you share meeting links and passwords. They won’t be able to see this kind of information if your devices are connected to a VPN. 

Using a VPN will also mean you get faster connection speeds, which can significantly improve the video and audio quality of your calls. With monthly subscription fees starting from as little as $1.99 a month, and additional benefits such as being able to access TV shows all over the world if you’re using streaming services such as Netflix, there are lots of other reasons to make sure your devices are connected to a VPN. Most subscriptions offer protection for multiple devices too, meaning you’re fully protected whether you’re making your video call on your mobile, Mac or tablet. 

Private Meetings Aren’t Always Private 

Several organizations have already banned the use of Zoom due to fear of official meetings being interrupted. However, if you’re taking careful steps to protect yourself online and follow the tips we’ve shared above, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel safe catching up with your friends on Zoom – especially if you’re all connected to a VPN. There are hundreds of VPN services to choose from and the top providers are all incredibly easy to use. For a full list of which VPNs are best for you, click here.

Adam Stevenson
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