As we undergo extended periods of staying indoors, there are a few things that might have happened: developing new routines, baking up a storm (psst: check out these cult-favourite recipes), picking up new hobbies, and understanding the importance of web conferencing technology. Such as Zoom.
Building from the latter, Zoom has gotten some pretty bad rep, such as privacy concerns and lack of transparency. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a useful or important tool to have during work from home situations.
For those who are using or planning on using Zoom, here are a few security and privacy tips to keep in mind:
1. Secure it up
Regardless of what you sign up or register for, it is no secret that you should apply the basics of account protection. Be sure to use a strong and unique password, and protect your account with two-factor authentication. This makes your account better protected and harder to hack.
There is one more thing about Zoom: each registration and account comes with a Personal Meeting ID.
This feature is pretty useful as Zoom offers an option to create public meetings with your Personal Meeting ID. But, at the same time, anyone who knows your ID can join any meeting you host. This is why it is advisable to share this information prudently, avoid making it public, and don’t share it via social media.
2. A password and Waiting Room for every session
Zoom recently turned password protection on by default. This is a good move, as setting up a password for your meeting ensures that only the people you want in your meeting can attend it.
The Waiting Room setting is also enabled by default. Participants wait in a virtual ‘waiting room’ until the host approves each one. This enables you to control who joins your meetings, and block off uninvited guests who somehow attain your ID and the password for it.
3. Use your work email
Zoom has been reported to leak email addresses as well as user photos via Zoom’s Contact Directory. This is because the app associated people with certain similar email domains to work for the same company.
Exemplifying this is what happened to users who registered Zoom accounts using e-mails ending with @yandex.kz, which is a public e-mail service in Kazakhstan. Basically everybody registered under the smaller public e-mail provider could access each other’s information.
To prevent that, use your work-email to register with Zoom. After all, sharing your work contact details with your real colleagues should not be a big deal. A burner account with a well-known public domain also helps to keep your personal contact details private.
4. Verify Zoom
Research shows that there is an increase of malefactors who incorporate the names of popular video conference services into malicious files. The idea is to disguise malware as videoconference clients.
Always use Zoom’s official website to download Zoom safely for Mac and PC, and go to the App Store or Google Play for your mobile devices.
5. Be cautious about what people can see or hear
Before you jump on the call, take a moment to consider what people will see or hear when you take on and join the call.
Basic grooming is always a good idea. The same holds true for your screen if you plan on sharing it. Close any windows you’d rather others not see, whether it’s your online or a job search your boss doesn’t need to know about. This one applies to every videoconferencing service, not just Zoom.