UPDATE 16th April 2020 – Zoom continue to update their system, see here: 90-Day Security Plan Progress Report: April 15 (Zoom)
One of my favourite programmes was Spooks. Seemingly capable of logging into anything, it was done speedily and without much thought. Hacking Zoom is the new reality. But it doesn’t involve hacking. It just involves knowing slightly more than someone else. Like the cabinet office press releasing screenshots of a Zoom call clearly showing the meeting ID and giving jokers the ability to join in.
In the first week or so of school closures for most children, and lockdown for everyone, the naivety of newbie Zoom users was sadly exploited by the ‘baddies'.
Schools Week reported that an online conference of headteachers was ‘zoombombed' and that shocking pornography was unleashed on the viewing leaders. This has been happening a lot and has obviously worried a lot of schools.
I think that when we hastily set stuff up, we don't always think about the potential negative consequences. This is especially true of anything internet-related. If you have never live-streamed, there is a lot to think about. It's not like Spooks, or picking up a telephone.
Zoom is the market leader and like any market leader will attract more ‘bad actors' than other products. In March, Zoom added 2.22 million users worldwide; in the whole of 2019, it grew by 2 million. In other words, more people joined during March than in the whole of 2019. I suspect many of those had never used a remote platform before.
Safer use of Zoom
Zoom have worked hard to improve the security and ‘user interface' issues and they issued an update on the 8th April 2020. This will help solve many of the potential problems.
There is now a security button on the main host page to access all the security settings.
Other changes include:
- The Zoom Meeting ID will no longer be displayed on the title toolbar
- The Waiting Room feature is now on by default for free Basic and single licensed Pro accounts, as well as education accounts enrolled in our K-12 program.
- Meeting passwords are on by default (The default setting cannot be changed for those education accounts.)
- Account admins and hosts can now disable the ability for participants to rename themselves (for every meeting)
For further information, go to: Zoom Product Updates
The update can be found here, or click the link inside your Zoom account: Zoom Download Center
Other things to do to protect your Zoom space are:
- Use a new meeting room each time (ie. don't use the personal meeting ID)
- Don't allow attendees to join before host
- Mute attendees on joining
- Turn screen sharing off
- Set up a ‘waiting room'
- Lock your meeting room after you have started
- Don't publicise your meeting's link on social media
- Don't share the screenshot of everyone, especially when it show the meeting ID
- Try to have someone whose job it is to ‘manage the room' and focus just on doing that.
- Tell people what the Plan B is (ie. if you do have to abort the meeting where will the meeting move to and how can people rejoin)
- Avoid sharing personal information
- Turn off your video and microphone, unless it's needed.
Take time to learn about new tech
I'm quite tech-savvy, but it has taken a while for me to get to know the online tech tools, so I can do more work online. It takes trial and error, and rehearsal to get it right. It's not Spooks!
Above all, remember just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be.
Where to find out more about using Zoom and other online technologies
One of my favourite online tech guys, Steve Dotto from dottotech, has some great videos about setting up and using Zoom.
In this video, Steve works with his wife, a teacher, to look at the main features of Zoom: Zoom Basics – Using Zoom for Classes and Meetings