We received a question from a parent of an elementary school aged child:

“I was wondering if you would write a post for us to post to our Facebook page about ZOOM safety. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, in fact it shouldn’t be or if you write something and I can link to it. People have seen articles about people hacking and how to protect yourself and I think hearing from an expert would help.”

We are all living in an unprecedented time. From social distancing to sheltering in place, we have never been more apart from one another. Yet, we are fortunate because today we have the technology that allows us to be face to face with our friends, students, and coworkers from our own home. Since everyone has been forced to be home, we have all had to adapt our schedules and routines.

Technology to the rescue! One of the most common communications tools in use today is Zoom. Zoom is great! Well, as long as you don’t get Zoom Bombed or Video Teleconference (VTC) Hijacked!

Here are two examples released by the FBI of Zoom Bombing:

  • In late March 2020, a Massachusetts-based high school reported that while a teacher was conducting an online class using the teleconferencing software Zoom, an unidentified individual(s) dialed into the classroom. This individual yelled a profanity and then shouted the teacher’s home address in the middle of instruction.
  • A second Massachusetts-based school reported a Zoom meeting being accessed by an unidentified individual. In this incident, the individual was visible on the video camera and displayed swastika tattoos.

Or maybe you have seen the viral video of the woman who used the toilet while on a Zoom meeting! No? You’re welcome.

How can you avoid being Zoom Bombed? Here the A, B, C’s of configuring the security settings in Zoom:

A. Once you log into your Zoom account, go to Settings and then enable (turn on):

  1. Waiting Room for All Participants
  2. Require Password for instant meetings
  3. Require a Password for Personal Meeting ID (PMI)
  4. Require Password for participants joining by phone
  5. Play a sound when participants join or leave for Heard by host only
  6. Screen sharing for Host Only
  7. Waiting room for All participants

B. Here are items in Settings to disable (turn off):

  1. Annotation
  2. Private chat

C. Once your meeting has started and everyone on your invite list is on, select More in the Zoom Meeting Room and click on Lock Meeting.

D. When scheduling a meeting, under Meeting ID, select Generate Automatically

E. Do NOT post your meeting invitation details publicly! Only send them to people you want to be in your meeting.

F-Y. Don’t forget to schedule social time with your friends and family on Zoom.

Z. No need for 26 setting changes, Happy Zooming!


Have a technology related question for us? Email ask@savvycyberkids.org.

Read more: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/boston/news/press-releases/fbi-warns-of-teleconferencing-and-online-classroom-hijacking-during-covid-19-pandemic

Savvy Cyber Kids educates and empowers digital citizens, from parents and grandparents, to teachers and students. Sign up for our free resources to help you navigate today’s digital world with cyber ethics. See more cyber safety and cyber ethics blogs produced exclusively for EarthLink. Looking for a social media parental control? Try a 30-day free trial of Bark. If you sign up after your trial, Bark donates 25% of your monthly fee to Savvy Cyber Kids.

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