Is Zoom Secure

Is Zoom Secure?

As millions flock to Zoom (and other services), privacy and security is rightfully a big concern as is common with any popular technology. Luckily there are some steps we can take together to provide you with a seucre way to meet virtually:

What You Can Do (with our help)

Schlow library staff are evolving our procedures to make sure we are setting up your meetings securely and following best practices as they emerge:

  • Most importantly--we always generate a password for your meetings--most concerns are greatly mitigated by this simple step, and we've got you covered.

  • We encourage you to not publicly post your zoom connection info--it is far better to email the link directly to those interested in or registered for your meeting.

  • It is always best to limit screen sharing capability to the Co-hosts that you designate. We can show you how to assign that role to attendees.

  • If you require further protection for your meeting, you can enable a "waiting room" for attendees, from which you can admit one person at a time (best for smaller meetings).

  • You can also now “Lock” a meeting after all expected guests have arrived. *Use with caution, as disconnected attendees will not be able to rejoin.*

What You Can Do on Your Own

What is up to Zoom

A number of Zoom security and privacy vulnerabilities have been hitting the news of late. Thankfully, it appears that Zoom is starting to take these as seriously as the problems warrant. They have been pushing out regular security updates to their app, and have focussed all development resources on resolving the issues. So again, please keep your Zoom app, up to date.

Panic Button

With Zoom version 5.4.4 and above, hosts have the ability to Suspend Participant Activities. You can find this in the Security Tab as a toggle. By clicking Suspend Participant Activities, all video, audio, in-meeting chat, annotation, screen sharing, and recording during that time will stop, and Breakout Rooms will end. This is a good panic button to effectively pause the meeting and sort out what the ruckus might be.

When you are Hosting a Meeting

While hosting a meeting is pretty straight forward, it can't hurt to go over some of the common options beforehand. Each section below expounds upon one of the buttons found at the bottom of your screen in Zoom.

Screen Sharing: At the bottom of your screen you will see the green Share Screen button. When you press that button you will be prompted to select to share your whole desktop (what you see) or just a particular window. To stop sharing your screen, hit the red stop button at the top of your screen. In the chevron to the right of the Share Screen button, you have a choice of two toggles. The most secure option, Only the Host can share is depicted, but select the setting most appropriate for your needs.

If you do allow for sharing, we recommend designating the specific people you would like to share as Co-Hosts, and leaving the sharing default at Only the Host can share. This will disallow sharing by everyone but you and the Co-Hosts. See more on Co-Hosts below.

Once you start sharing your screen, you will also see some new options, in addition to Stop Share, such as Pause, and Annotations.

Co-Hosts: You may want to designate a Co-Host if you have a few other folks sharing their screen, want assistance with a large crowd, or otherwise have needs that would benefit from giving some extra authority to other people. Designating a Co-Host is easy enough, in the bottom toolbar of your Zoom window, hit the Participant's button to bring up the Participants window on the right hand side. Click the More chevron on the participant you want to elevate to Co-Host, and then select Make Co-Host. You can later rescind the Co-Host status through the same More chevron.

A Co-Host can share their screen even if the sharing options are set to Only the Host. They can remove people from the meeting, and if they connected with the Zoom app, they have access to the Security toggles.

Security: At the bottom of your screen the Security button brings up a host of toggles to quickly flip a switch if you want to change settings on the fly. Let's go through each one.

  • When Lock Meeting is checked, no more participants can enter, including those who are accidentally disconnected. Only use this ability when you are sure that everyone who you want to be in the meeting has already joined.

  • Enable Waiting Room sets up a virtual waiting room where participants gather until you manually allow them in. On the one hand this is potentially more secure, but only if you know the names of everyone you would like to attend, and you are certain that the names displayed will match the names you expect. The responsibility to admit participants manually is on the Host (and Co-Hosts).

  • The Share Screen toggle is the same setting as the toggle in the Screen Sharing button, changes made in one will be mirrored in the other.

  • Toggling Chat on and off mirrors the macro settings in the chat options. To make more detailed adjustments, open the chat window. This is accessed through the three dots, and then select who you would would like participants to be able to chat with.

  • By default, participants can Rename Themselves. If you want to disallow that, uncheck that option in the Security button.

  • Remove Participant is not a toggle, but clicking on it allows you to select a participant to boot. It is much faster however, to just select a guest in the Participants window, hit the More chevron and select Remove. You will be asked to confirm your choice. If you click Yes, the participant will be removed from the meeting and will not be able to re-join.

Besides Make Co-Host, and Remove, the Participants tab has some key functions. The most important of these may be to Mute guests by clicking on their microphones. This is a good place to start if you find that you have persistent audio feedback. The More button has a host of other functions you can use if necessary. Some options will only appear when relevant, such as Put in waiting room, or Stop Video. Once a host has stopped a video from a participant, that participant can't send their video to the meeting until the Host takes the action Ask to Start Video.

Invite: Hopefully all your guests arrived with the invite you previously sent out. If you need to invite on the fly, the button to that information is at the bottom of the Participants window.

Schlow Library is able to provide remote connection through Zoom because of generous support from the Centre Foundation and from community members like you. If you would like to contribute to Schlow Library's ongoing efforts to support and nurture our community, you can contribute here. Thank you!