How to secure your Zoom account with two-factor authentication

Follow these steps to better protect your Zoom account with a second layer of authentication.

zoom.jpg

Image: Zoom

Zoom now provides an extra level of security to your account with two-factor authentication (2FA). With Zoom's flavor of 2FA, you can verify your account through your mobile device with codes sent via SMS or from a dedicated authenticator app such as Google Authenticator. Whichever method you use, enabling 2FA can help protect your Zoom account. Let's see how this works.

SEE: Zoom 101: A guidebook for beginners and business pros (TechRepublic Premium)

To use Zoom's 2FA, you'll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Zoom desktop client for Windows, macOS, or Linux, version 5.2.2 or higher.
  • A phone number that can receive SMS, or an Android or iOS device with a 2FA app that supports Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) protocol. Zoom recommends these three apps: Google Authenticator (Android, iOS), Microsoft Authenticator (Android, iOS, Windows), FreeOTP (Android, iOS).

Your best and safest option is to download and install one of the supported third-party authenticator apps on your phone; receiving codes via SMS is a less secure method of 2FA because the codes can be intercepted. If you do use an app, you can enable notifications for it so that you don't have to manually open it each time you need to view an authentication code.

After you set up 2FA, the authentication method you chose will work with the Zoom web client, the desktop clients, and the mobile apps.

If you administer a paid version of Zoom for employees at your organization, you can turn on 2FA for your users, and each user then has to enable the specific method of authentication. If you use Zoom personally with a free account, you can set up two-factor authentication for yourself. Let's look at each process.

Admin setup of two-factor authentication for Zoom

1. To set up 2FA as an administrator for your users, sign into the Zoom website with your admin account.

2. From the menu, select Advanced and then click Security.

3. Make sure the Sign In With Two-Factor Authentication option is enabled.

4. Select one of the following three options to determine which users should have 2FA enabled: 1) All users in your account. Enable 2FA for all users in the account; 2) Users with specific roles. Enable 2FA for roles with the specified roles. Click the pencil icon, select the roles, and then click OK; 3) Users belonging to specific groups. Enable 2FA for users that are in the specified groups. Click the pencil icon, select the groups, and then click OK.

5. Click Save.

User setup of two-factor authentication for Zoom

Whether you use a paid version of Zoom at your organization managed by an administrator or you use the free version yourself, the process for choosing and using a specific authentication method is the same.

Sign into the Zoom website with your account. Depending on your selection, follow one of these two processes.

Authentication app

1. Download and install one of the supported authentication apps on your iPhone or Android phone.

2. At the Zoom website, look for the setting for Two-factor Authentication. (In the free version, scroll to the bottom of the Profile section for your account.) Click the Set Up link for Authentication App.

3. Enter your Zoom password. Click Next.

4. Open the authentication app on your phone. Look for the option to scan a QR code or barcode. For example, in Google Authenticator, you select Begin Setup and then tap the entry to Scan Barcode. In Microsoft Authenticator, you tap the + sign in the upper right and then choose Other (Google, Facebook, etc.). A barcode scanner then appears on your phone. Position your phone so that the QR code on the Zoom page appears in the viewscreen on your phone (Figure A).

Figure A

figure-a.jpg

5. After the code has been scanned at the Zoom page, click Next.

6. At the next screen, type the authentication code displayed in the authenticator app. Click Verify (Figure B).

Figure B

figure-b.jpg

7. The next screen displays a list of single-use recovery codes that you can use if your phone is lost or otherwise unavailable. You can print or download these codes, but make sure you keep them secure. Click Done.

8. Return to the Two-Factor Authentication setup screen in Zoom. The status now tells you that the authentication app has been paired. If you wish to remove your current phone from 2FA, click the link to Remove Device. If you want to pair a new phone, click the link to Change Device and follow the same process described above (Figure C).

Figure C

figure-c.jpg

SMS

1. At the Zoom website, look for the setting for Two-factor Authentication. Click the Set Up link for SMS.

2. Enter your Zoom password. Click Next.

3. At the first screen for SMS Authentication Setup, select your country code and type your mobile phone number. Click the button to Send Code (Figure D).

Figure D

figure-d.jpg

4. At the next screen, enter the code received via SMS on your phone. Click Verify (Figure E).

Figure E

figure-e.jpg

5. Return to the Two-Factor Authentication setup screen in Zoom. The status now tells you that SMS has been paired. To remove your current phone from this authentication method, click the link to Remove Phone (Figure F).

Figure F

figure-f.jpg

Use your authentication method

The next time you sign into the Zoom website, desktop app, or mobile app, the 2FA method you set up will take effect. To try this out, sign into the Zoom website or app.

If you set up 2FA using SMS, click the option to Send code. If you set it up using an authenticator app, Zoom will ask for the code generated by the app. Enter the code displayed on the 2FA app or SMS and then click Verify to sign in (Figure G).

Figure G

figure-g.jpg

Also see