Security tips when using Zoom

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Perhaps like many of us you’ve been using Zoom a lot more recently, but are worried about the security issues everyone has been talking about?

Zoom has been a great way for us all to stay connected in these challenging times, because it’s free (for limited personal use) and easy to use. Unfortunately that ease of use has partly come about because Zoom have historically had a rather cavalier attitude to security. 

But, things are improving, and Zoom have now made changes to deal with the worst of these issues. So you can now use Zoom reasonably safely, if you follow some sensible precautions.

 

The most important thing is to make sure you install the recent Zoom updates. If you are not using the newest version of Zoom, the Mac app itself will show an update banner across the top of its main window. Do that update. If you want to make absolutely sure you’re running the latest version, click “Check for updates” under the Zoom.us menu. Likewise, make sure you are running the most recent version of Zoom on your phone.

 

If you want to dig deeper, there are many security settings in your Zoom preferences. 

Most of these settings are in Personal/Settings in the Zoom web interface – accessed by clicking “View Advanced Features” in the Profile tab in the Zoom app preferences on your Mac. There are a lot of settings in there, but the most important are probably these:

  • Require a password when scheduling new meetings (on): a unique password will be generated when scheduling a meeting and participants will need the password to join the meeting.
  • Join before host (off): do not allow others to join a meeting before you, as the host, have arrived. 
  • Waiting Room (on): a host will have to manually allow attendees to join a Zoom meeting.
  • Use Personal Meeting ID (PMI) when scheduling a meeting (off): with this preference off your Zoom meetings will use a unique meeting ID, rather than your PMI, which can be used to find your meetings. Never share your Zoom Personal Meeting ID publicly.
  • Allow removed participants to rejoin (off): make sure this preference is turned off so that anyone you have had to remove from a meeting can’t rejoin.
  • Screen Sharing (off): you might also choose to disallow screen sharing in your Zoom meetings. Although the nature of your use of Zoom meetings might make this impractical.

When scheduling Zoom meetings make sure to choose to have Zoom generate a meeting ID automatically, rather than using your own Personal Meeting ID, and to require a meeting password for participants to join.

Once your Zoom meeting has started, and all of your participants are in the meeting, you can prevent anyone else from joining in. This is done in the “Security” tab, at the bottom of your meeting window on the Mac. Choose “Lock Meeting”. This will prevent others from joining even if meeting IDs or access details have been leaked.

More broadly, always be cautious what information you share in Zoom meetings (and generally). Under no circumstances should you discuss passwords, banking details or any other highly sensitive information.

 

Remember, this is a time of high security risk for all internet users, so take no chances.

Mac Aid is still here to help, just ask.