Zoom Bomb Prevention and Reporting
Since moving many campus operations and services online in response to COVID-19, the University has experienced some incidents of "Zoom bombing" wherein hackers and trolls present hateful and offensive content onscreen during programs, classes, or other events hosted on Zoom.
Such incidents can be highly disruptive and extremely hurtful to members of our University community; but meeting facilitators can also take precautions to greatly reduce the risk of such incidents disrupting their events.
Some helpful information provided by Loyola's Information Technology Services Division (ITS) to help make Zoom meetings more secure can be found here.
The following are additional tips for event hosts to consider if they are planning an event or program that may be at risk for Zoom bombing:
- Generate a randomized meeting ID versus using your personal meeting ID. If you use your personal ID and it is leaked to the web, hackers/trolls can follow you and interrupt later meetings you host.
- Use a meeting password. As a general rule, this is a crucial way to ensure security, though it may not be feasible for larger/public events. Even if hosting a more widely publicized event, however, you can still...
- Require participants to register (via email or a Google form) in advance, and use the “waiting room” feature before admitting registered participants. This can be time-consuming and may limit the "viral" appeal of some events, but it is worth it when you want to ensure everyone who attends your event is “supposed” to be there.
- Turn off screen sharing and chat functions except for the host(s). This can be done in the meeting settings, and will help prevent others from displaying anything disruptive/hateful/etc. on the screen. In most Zoom bombing cases, screen sharing is the main culprit, but chat can still be used to display hateful and disruptive messages.
- Mute all participants by default, and set up the meeting so only the hosts can unmute participants as needed.
- Before the event, consider tasking someone to be a “monitor,” whose job is to quickly intervene and remove anyone who violates the meeting or event guidelines. If the other measures listed above are in place, the chance of a Zoom bombing is greatly reduced; but if something slips through the cracks, it can help to have behind-the-scenes help so that the main presenters can stay focused on their content.
We in the OEC hate that we even have to contemplate such incidents, which are so contradictory to our University's mission and values. But remaining vigilant and proactive can help ensure smooth and impactful events, free from disruption and distraction. If you are a member of the Loyola community and considering hosting a virtual event related to equity, diversity, and/or inclusion that you think may be at increased risk for Zoom bombing, feel free to reach out to the OEC at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss these suggestions in further detail.