With the increased use of Zoom at Vanderbilt, there have been cases of bad actors trying to interfere with classes and meetings. The “Zoombombing” trend happens when uninvited guests join Zoom meetings with the intention of disrupting the meeting or sharing unwelcome content. Most of these are perpetrated through publicly available Zoom links, but that is not always the case.
The university has recently received some reports of incidents. The Office of the Dean of Students has been notified and is working with VUIT to address these situations.
Students can report incidents by contacting VUIT Support at 615-343-9999 or by submitting a help request at help.it.vanderbilt.edu. The information that is most helpful is the meeting ID, the date and time of the meeting, and the username, if known, of the unwanted guest. The VUIT security team will investigate these issues.
VUIT offers the following tips for Zoom hosts to help secure their meetings:
- Avoid sharing your meeting links publicly. Instead, schedule a meeting or event that requires participants to register with their name and email address.
- Require a password that participants must enter before being allowed into a meeting.
- Enable a Waiting Room so you have control over who can enter your meeting.
- Use a Co-Host or an Alternative Host to help monitor activity during your meeting.
- Encourage the use of virtual backgrounds so participants’ personal environments are not shown.
- Disable file sharing through Zoom and use services like Box for Vanderbilt and Brightspace course pages to deliver materials.
- Allow authenticated users only. If you click on this option, only Zoom users who have signed into their accounts can get into the Zoom meeting. This will make it harder for anonymous participants to bomb your meeting and easier to track anyone who does arrive uninvited.
- Lock the meeting. Once a meeting begins and all attendees are in the meeting, one of the most effective ways to deter Zoombombing is by locking the meeting. Much like locking the door of your classroom so no one else can enter, locking your meeting does not allow any more participants to join whether or not they have the password. First click on the Manage Participants button at the bottom of your screen. Then, choose the More option, and finally, click Lock Meeting.
Zoom has disabled participant screen sharing in an effort to minimize the potential for “Zoombombing.” If you need to share your screen, the meeting host will have to enable screen sharing within the meeting or go into their settings to override this default.
To learn more about Zoom best practices, visit the Zoom Help Center.
If you have any questions or need assistance with Zoom, please contact the VUIT support number at 615-343-9999, or submit a help request at help.it.vanderbilt.edu.