Security designed to prevent “Zoom bombing”

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(Photo by Josh Constine from Tech Crunch

During some Zoom meetings recently, Zoom “bombings” have occurred. Zoom bombing is when a user who is not invited into the Zoom meeting joins and is usually disruptive towards the host. This is a reoccurring problem for Zoom users. However, for Central Oregon Community College, it thankfully hasn’t been a huge issue. Regardless of whether or not Zoom bombing is a large-scale problem, Zoom is doing its part to prevent this from happening again.

Starting May 30, Zoom will update their app. This update will allow for a much more secure GCM encryption in place for all users. The encryption will provide confidentiality for all of the users’ Zoom information. If a zoom user does not update their app until after May 30, then the Zoom 5.0 update will update automatically.

In this update, there will also be some end-user feature updates. These include a reporting a user option, leaving/ending meeting enhancements, a setting to allow cloud share recordings with each recording receiving an expiration date, a six character password, and controlled profile pictures. Out of all these updates, the one that stands out as a potential threat to Zoom bombers is the report a user feature.

https://www.midoregon.com/accounts/student.shtml

According to the Zoom press release, “meeting hosts and co-hosts can report a user in their meeting who is misusing the Zoom platform.”

This feature will be helpful for those who are repeatedly interrupted by unknown users. However, the idea of an unknown user disrupting classes with an elaborate visual or verbal distraction on Zoom was a concern since spring term at COCC had to go remote.

According to an email sent to COCC faculty from the Instructional Systems Specialist Kristine Roshau, she states, “there are a lot of worst-case scenario type articles floating around right now, but what Zoom bombing really comes down to is virtual classroom management.”

This email was sent on March 26, a week before faculty had an extra week to prepare for remote learning instruction. Even when preparing for Zoom coursework, Roshau was ready to face the reality that Zoom bombing might happen.

Settings were put in to avoid the issue. Virtual backgrounds are disabled. Hosts have the option to rename a user especially if that user has an inappropriate name. Private chatting is disabled. Hosts can remove people from the meeting. Hosts and co-hosts can be the only ones allowed to screen share. Essentially, hosts are the key to every setting in the Zoom meeting.

“We have only had two very minor cases of Zoom bombing here so far” says Kristine Roshau.

She continues to say, “in general, zoom bombing is very manageable if you understand the security settings and if you understand really basic user management.”

COCC is not a large community for Zoom bombing to occur all that often, but other institutions with more students will tend to have this problem. Whatever the case might be, COCC is ready to adapt to these security measures.

(Jack Peeples/The Broadside)

 

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