How do I protect my privacy & data on Zoom? (Part 3)

–– 9 Jun 2020

A student takes classes online with his companions using the Zoom app in El Masnou, north of Barcelona, Spain April 2, 2020 © Reuters / Albert Gea

In part two of our series on privacy and video conferencing, we offered our view on a bunch of video conferencing software to help you decide which is best for your personal data and privacy.

In this part three we provide tips to keep you and your personal data safe when using the popular video conferencing software Zoom…

Keep your Zoom up to date 

Keep your Zoom updated. Whether on mobile or on the desktop app. This will ensure any issues are fixed and the security risk is reduced. We recommend checking for updates about once a week.

To automatically download the latest version, simply go to the Zoom Download Centre

If you have the Zoom desktop application open, then do the following:

  1. Click on the icon in the top right on the home screen
  2.  Select Check for Updates
  3. Zoom will then automatically check for available updates and download the latest version, if one is available. Once the download is complete, click Update Now. Upon completion of that process, which should only take 30 seconds to 1 minute typically, you will now be up to date.

If you’re not signed in…

Do the following on Windows:

  1. After starting Zoom (go to your Start menu, search Zoom, click Start Zoom) 
  2. You will get the simpler screen with “join” or “sign in”
  3. Right click on the small zoom icon down by the time and date in the bottom right of your desktop (it may also be in the hidden icons area, check this by click the up arrow to the left of the time/date)
  4. Choose “Check for Updates”

On Mac:

  1. Go to the zoom.us dropdown menu far left in the banner across at the top of the desktop
  2. Select ‘check for updates’ then follow the process to updating Zoom

On Mobiles updates are via Google Play (Android) or App Store (iOS)

Use passwords & never share your meeting ID

Never share your Zoom link, or meeting ID, on public platforms and try not to use the personal meeting ID, instead allow Zoom to generate a random ID for each meeting.

Try to require a password when scheduling new meetings and for instant meetings. Embed password in meeting link for one-click join and enable require password for participants joining by phone.

Share meeting room password securely

Don’t share your meeting room password via insecure methods. If you do share your meeting room password, use Signal or an encrypted messenger and use the self-destruct feature within these apps once you’ve sent it. We’ve talked about other ways to protect yourselves in video conferencing software. 

Use SSO & 2Factor Authentication

For businesses, it’s best to connect to Zoom via single sign on (SSO) if your company provides this type of authentication. Try to use two-factor authentication and enable this for all users in your account. 

Use waiting rooms

One way to stop intruders from entering a chat or meeting is the use of waiting rooms within Zoom. By doing this you can screen everyone entering the meeting to ensure no one uninvited can access the chat. 

  1. Sign in to your account in the Zoom Web Portal and access the Settings tab.
  2. Click on the In Meeting (Advanced) option.
  3. Search or scroll to find the Waiting Room option.
  4. Toggle the button next to the Waiting Room to enable this feature.

Manage participants

As a host you can also manage meeting participants. To do this ensure you are the host only, not anyone else. Doing this means you can control the camera and mute options. Hosts can ensure other participants can’t share their screen without approval. 

Beware of phishing 

Another security risk for Zoom users is phishing, which can lead people to download malware or become a victim of fraud. Be careful when clicking on any meeting invite links. If you ever feel something seems suspicious just stop. 

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