A lot of us have found ourselves using some sort of video meeting software during this time of social distancing. It is a great way to keep in touch with clients, co-workers, family and friends. If you can’t meet in person, at least you are able to see the person or group of people and talk to them all at once.

One of the biggest platforms to use has been Zoom. Zoom is great. It is pretty easy to use, has some fun features, and can handle lots of people in one meeting. However, with this popularity comes some security related issues. I am not going to get into the technical details of this, but if you want more information on the details of the vulnerabilities you can go here or here and here.

In light of these vulnerabilities in Zoom, we all need to be a bit more cautious when we use this platform.

More Secure Options

If you are going to have a meeting that needs to be secure or where you are discussing sensitive or confidential information, you should probably use something other than Zoom.

Some other options are Signal, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Skype, and more. Every platform is going to have advantages and disadvantages. You will just need to be sure you choose the one that’s right for you.

Making Zoom Safer to Use

Many of us will still want to use Zoom due to its ease of use and because it is what most of the people we want to talk with are already using. Keep the following things in mind when you use Zoom and you will be safe(r).

  • Remember Zoom is not the most secure! Zoom claims to be encrypted, but that has since been found to be false. Don’t share critical information.
  • Use the most current version of Zoom. Zoom has said they are stopping work on new features, for a while, to concentrate on security issues. They have had an unexpected surge in users and are playing a little bit of catch up. As they fix security issues, they will release new versions. The newest version should be the most secure.
  • Keep meetings private or require a password, when possible. This will defeat the ease of use for some users, so you will have to weigh the options on this one.
  • Don’t share a meeting link on social media or in public emails. This will allow nefarious users to login to your meeting and cause disruptions.
  • Don’t show screen shots of your computer meetings that include your Personal Meeting ID. With that information, someone can just randomly try to login to your meeting if they can guess when you are in one. This has happened several times, recently, and has caused lots of embarrassment. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Set screen sharing to the “Host Only” option to prevent users from showing inappropriate content to the entire group.
  • Mute all visitors when they enter. This keeps them from jumping in and causing issues before you can react.
  • As a Host, use the “Waiting Room” feature to control who joins the meeting and when. If someone you don’t want in the meeting is in the waiting room. Don’t let them in.
  • If someone does get into your meeting that shouldn’t be there, you can kick them out using the Manage Participants area of Zoom.
  • Lock the meeting once everyone is in attendance. This will be difficult in some situations, but in small meetings, should be easy enough to do.
  • Unplug your webcam or cover it when not in use. If someone does manage to gain access to your system or Zoom, they may be able to watch and listen to you with your camera and microphone. Yes, it is a little paranoid, but it has happened. Play it safe!

Zoom can be a fun and easy to use when you use a little bit of common sense. A little paranoia can also go a long way to keeping you safe in your online life.

Stay safe and have fun!