Storm Reader

Half Mag / Half Zine

Zoom enables passwords and waiting rooms to thwart Zoom bombing

To cut down on instances of Zoom bombing, you may now have to enter a password and wait to be accepted into a meeting when using Zoom. The precautions give the host more control over who is allowed into the room than the previous default settings.
After a series of security lapses, Zoom has put a hold on all feature development in favor of beefing up user protections. The lastest changes coming to the app are meeting passwords and waiting rooms being turned on by default. Previously these features had to be enabled by users as developers wanted to make the process of joining meetings as “frictionless” as possible.

However, last week the Federal Bureau of Investigation and one federal prosecutor warned that they had seen an increase in Zoom-bombing incidents. This is where an uninvited user or hacker intrudes on a teleconference to disrupt it. Officials warned that such an act is a federal offense that comes with very harsh penalties, including large fines and prison time.

Seemingly in response, Zoom haas enabled passwords and waiting rooms to keep out unwanted guests. The password feature was already enabled for new and instant meetings, or conferences joined using a meeting ID. The main difference now is that passwords will be turned on for previously scheduled events.

Furthermore, now when users join a conference, they will be placed in a waiting room where the host can choose whom to allow into the meeting. This feature works even if the person has a password for the meeting. So ultimately, nobody is getting into a meeting without the host giving the okay first.

Developers have tweaked the process a bit to minimize the steps users have to take to join protected meetings. For example, invites will have a link that includes the password to allow users to get in with one click. However, entering the meeting ID will still require inputting the proper password.

Presumably, the protections on the more expensive multi-device, enterprise licensing are stronger against unwanted visitors. So the new changes only affect those with free or single license accounts, and may still be disabled in the settings if the host chooses. Zoom has a full rundown on how to use these features in its Help Center.