It’s widely believed that remote work has been one of the main work styles due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For instant communication between colleagues or business partners, videoconference has been extraordinarily used and Zoom has become the top one tool for the videoconference. To cater to the rocketing demand from the globe, Zoom is temporarily providing unlimited time (originally 40 minutes) meeting services for Basic (free) users during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not surprising at all that Zoom becomes extremely popular because the service provided by it makes online communication both handy and effective. Based on the statistics provided by Zoom, the number of its users has rocketed to 200 million up to now from 10 million by December in 2019. However, Zoom has been constantly complained about its security vulnerabilities by individuals and parties. Although constant upgrading measures have been made to optimize the security of users, there is still much for you to do to better protect your online security and privacy as you use Zoom for remote communication.
Do You Know You Are Possibly Being Attacked by Zoom Bombing?
Can Zoom be hacked? Yes, and Zoom bombing is the main form.
Zoom bombing is a type of video hijacking taking advantage of the public channels shared over the internet via URLs since they are accessible to anyone. Zoom bombers can guess the shared URL or meeting ID so that they can access the feed to steal users’ private information.
In another case of Zoom bombing, hijackers design fake Zoom websites to attract you to click in so that your personal data can be acquired with no efforts. Or, you may receive emails leading you to join a Zoom meeting through a given meeting ID or URL. Be careful! That’s possibly a phishing email and as soon as you click the link, malware will be automatically installed and running on your device and you’ll suffer from data breaches.
Though the Zoom bombing sounds destructive for your online activities, a few essential tips will be beneficial for you to protect your online security and privacy.
How to Protect Your Online Security and Privacy While Using Zoom for Videoconference
What are Ordinary Security Tips for All Using Zoom for Videoconference?
Tip#1: Use the web version.
It’s been widely admitted that a browser is safer than software or App, which not only works on social media, but on Zoom as well. Nevertheless, the Zoom web only supports meeting participation while meeting host fails to start a new meeting on the browser since downloading and installation will be automatically redirected. For more security and privacy online, private browser is highly suggested since it doesn’t keep a record of your browsing activities.
If you must use Zoom App or software, conform to the tip just below.
Tip#2: Download Zoom from official sources.
Remember to download Zoom from the official website (zoom.us), Google Play Store or App Store. Since Zoom becomes incredibly popular, numerous fake “Zooms” are created to seduce you to download and install. Be careful! All the Zoom-like Apps may be malware or virus carriers to compromise your online security and privacy.
Due to the increasing complaints about security vulnerabilities on Zoom, upgrading has been constantly made to its App and software with higher security setting such as waiting room, lock meeting, etc. Therefore, set assured the latest Zoom is being used on all your devices ranging from PC, tablet to mobile phone. You can see what Zoom version you have by tapping Settings>About>Version.
Tip#3: Register using work email or burner account.
Work email usually comes with marked email suffix, such as @bitvpn.net, which is different from ordinary email addresses ending with @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc. Moreover, work email can’t be randomly registered due to the high-security system a corporation conforms to. So, when someone enters your meeting room with an email address not specific for your organization email features, that is probably a Zoom hacker and can be removed.
However, not all corporations have their own featured email address and personal emails need to be used instead. Then, to protect yourself during Zoom meeting from potential online risks, a burner account or a temporary email especially for Zoom is highly recommended.
Tip#4: Use strong passwords.
Using strong passwords for your Zoom account stops your account from being monitored or tracked by the wrong hands. To get a strong password, it should contain both capital and little letters and numbers and the number mustn’t be simple displays such as your birthday. Use two-factor authentication is also a necessity to strengthen your online security and privacy of your Zoom account. As a matter of fact, strong passwords and two-factor authentication are of similar importance to all your accounts for security consideration.
Tip#5: Simplify your Zoom profile.
Your Zoom profile exposes you a lot when all items are genuinely filled up. To simplify your Zoom profile stops the illegitimate mind from tracking your personal information including Location, Job Title, Department, even your Personal Meeting ID. Enabling Use Touch ID fosters your security when using Zoom.
Tip#6: Don’t believe end-to-end encryption.
Yes, Zoom confirmed it supports end-to-end encryption for meetings. However, it has been clarified by Zoom spokesperson that the encryption doesn’t work, which means Zoom still can access your video meetings. That’s sad, though.
Well, the real measure supporting end-to-end encryption is to use a VPN while you’re using Zoom for the videoconference. VPN builds an encrypted tunnel through which data transmission can be carried out in a secret way. In addition, VPN can hide your IP address so that you can browse the internet with complete anonymity and all your online activities can be protected from being tracked or monitored.
Tip#7: Watch out for the Zoom meeting link in the email.
Due to its overwhelming popularity since COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom is usually taken advantage of by hackers to seduce you to click their given link to steal and misuse your data without your awareness. That’s what a phishing email does generally.
Be surely careful when you read a link or meeting ID about Zoom in your mailbox. You mustn’t click it unless 100% safety can be guaranteed. Remember that and you’ll be safe.
Tip#8: Don’t share meeting ID randomly.
Your Zoom meeting ID is the key to the meeting room, so don’t share randomly. Especially remember not to share it on your social media. It’ll be extremely dangerous. The more people have an opportunity to know the meeting ID, the more your privacy will suffer from.
What Security Tips Should Zoom Meeting Host Stick to?
Tip#9: Protect your personal meeting ID.
The zoom meeting ID is your identity as a Zoom user and all Zoom users have an identical one. Before starting a Zoom meeting, enable personal meeting ID and generate a random meeting ID that is sent to your colleagues or partners so that they can have the key to your meeting room. In addition, disable the option “Embed password in meeting link for one-click join” and enable “Require password for participants joining by phone.”
Tip#10: Enable a waiting room option.
The waiting room option is a newly set-up function on Zoom that ensures the meeting host can double confirm the accessibility of participants. Even if the meeting ID is shared with outsiders, the waiting room still provides a chance to stop them in time.
Tip#11: Lock the meeting.
While a meeting is on, the host can enable “lock meeting” that stops anyone else from entering the meeting even if he/she holds the meeting ID or meeting password. The lock meeting button cuts the final risk if meeting ID is by accident shared with others.
Tip#12: Watch out for your shared screen.
Both meeting hosts and attendees need to pay much attention to your screen security as they share their screen during meetings. However, a meeting host has more chances and necessities to share his or her screen with others, so this tip is discussed in this portion. Remember to close irrelated windows and disable notifications such as bank account information, verification code, etc. to protect your personal data from being monitored while sharing screen. Moreover, a meeting host should mute attendees’ screen sharing unless it’s of necessity.
Tip#13: Use virtual background.
Encourage your colleagues and all meeting attendees to use virtual background. On one hand, virtual background enables one to hide personal life so that their privacy will be well protected. On the other hand, using virtual background is beneficial for all attendees to focus on their work and meeting and won’t be distracted by home stuff like pets or kids.
What Security Tips Should Zoom Meeting Attendees Stick to?
Tip#14: Don’t use zoom chat to send private messages.
Zoom meeting attendees are not suggested to send private messages through zoom chat because the meeting host can know all. Therefore, don’t rush to talk with your intimate colleagues during video meeting or through zoom, unless you want your meeting host to know.
Tip#15: Turn your video on only when necessary.
It’s optimal to keep your highest security to use zoom as your video is off. It’s impossible, however. Video isn’t always regulated by all meeting hosts because it may be postponed, unstable or even suffer from a sudden halt. What’s worse, the video exposes too much of your personal information to others. If your meeting room is intruded by “unexpected” attendees, you would possibly suffer from a data breach or identity theft.
Tip#16: Disable file transfer.
Online risks always take place when communications are made on the internet between devices. Just call back the virus spreading process. Disable file transfer stops random communications between two devices and dramatically helps cutting down online risks. Never receive a file unless its security is completely guaranteed.
Zoom isn’t perfect though, which is especially true on its free version. Therefore, it’s a better idea to opt for a paid plan that contains higher security measures. However, when the free zoom is used, the above security tips alone allow you to carry out remote work in a secure way.