Remote Teaching & Working

Zoombombing? What to Know for Public Zoom Meetings

Zoom Update: In response to the issues concerning privacy and security, Zoom has automatically defaulted the as screen sharing settings for Education customers to “Only Host” as of March 26, 2020. To enable participant sharing, please visit the following link:

Zoom logoZoom, the video & web conferencing solution, has become the de-facto service of choice for working remotely and staying in touch with loved ones during the stay-at-home orders taking place across the country. As with any rapidly adopted service, however, some folks want to rain on the parade.

According to the New York Times, there have been some reports of bad actors entering publicly available Zoom meetings and sharing inappropriate content. This is due to public meetings having the ability to share screens enabled for everyone by default. While these issues are happening mostly to open meetings with links shared via social media or other public means, there are still steps you can take to make sure that your events go the way you plan.

To access Zoom Screen Sharing settings:

The screen sharing options in Zoom.
The screen sharing options in Zoom.
  1. Click the My Account link in the top right-hand corner of the site after logging in.
  2. Select Settings in the left-hand sidebar.
  3. Scroll down the page until you see the Screen Sharing section. To prevent anyone but yourself from sharing screens, select the Host Only option and Save.

Once you schedule a meeting, just make sure you send the invitation to trusted individuals and don’t share the link to public platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Password setting in Zoom
The setting for a meeting password in Zoom. Please, use a different password. 

Also, if you want even more security for a publicly shared Zoom meeting, you can password-protect the event, so only those you have provided the password to can join the session. Another option is to have users register for your public meeting. This will also help to deter those bad actors.

As always, if you have any questions regarding your Zoom experience, let the IT Help Desk know!

UPDATED March 25, 2020, 5:18 p.m. CST: Clarification that the information is only for publicly shared meetings.

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Zach Peterson

Zach is a Senior IT Training & Communications Consultant with OIT. Zach began his SMU career at the IT Help Desk in 2012 and joined the Training & Communications Team in 2015. He is a 2011 graduate from the University of North Texas and obtained a Master of Liberal Studies degree from SMU in 2018. He enjoys reading and collecting vintage and antique radio sets. He grew up in Valley View, Texas near Denton.