Zoom 5.0: How to better secure meetings with the latest features

With the new 5.0 version of Zoom, the app has added features to help you protect your virtual meetings from Zoombombing and other unwanted intrusion.

Zoom 5.0: How to better secure meetings with the latest features

Since the coronavirus has forced us all to quarantine and stay at home, Zoom has gained a prominent spot among people who want to see and talk to family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. The virtual meeting and calling app has been lauded for its simplicity and ease of use. But Zoom has also faced criticism over its loose security measures. Security weaknesses have led to various problems, including the infamous Zoombombing in which total strangers crash a live meeting and use profanity, show pornography, or just enjoy ruining the experience for legitimate participants.

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

To address the security issues, the people behind Zoom have now rolled out version 5.0 of its app. As described in a blog post published last week, Zoom 5.0 brings with it 256-bit encryption to better secure meeting data, meeting passwords that are turned on by default, passwords required to access recorded meetings stored in the cloud, and other security features.

Some of the new security features, such as the 256-bit encryption, work behind the scenes. But there are others that you can activate and control yourself. Let's look at the main security features in Zoom, new and old, to see how you can better secure your virtual meetings.

Use a meeting password. Passwords are now enabled by default when a host schedules a meeting. At the Schedule Meeting window, you can turn off the option, but in general you'll want to leave it on. A password is automatically generated, but you can change it to something else (Figure A).

Figure A


Enable waiting room. The waiting room option gives hosts the ability to place any or all attendees in a room before the meeting actually starts. You can opt to send all participants to the waiting room or only guests who aren't part of your Zoom account or aren't signed in. At the Schedule Meeting window and at the screen during an existing call, you'll see that the Waiting Room is turned on by default. When someone joins the call, you'll receive a notification that the person is in the Waiting Room. Click the Admit button when you're ready for that person to join or select Remove to eject someone who wasn't invited (Figure B).

Figure B


Remove or report a user. You can always remove an unwanted user from a Zoom chat. From the toolbar, click the Security icon and select the command to Remove Participant. To tell Zoom about the incident, select the Report command. You can now indicate the problem, such as inappropriate screen sharing, inappropriate video, uninvited guest, or abusive conduct. Fill out the rest of the form and send it to Zoom. If warranted, Zoom can then opt to block that person from the service (Figure C).

Figure C


Lock the meeting. Once all the invited participants have joined, you can lock the meeting so no uninvited guests can crash it. Click the Security icon and then select Lock Meeting. If someone does try to join via the meeting ID or URL, that person is blocked and bumps into a message saying that the meeting has been locked by the host (Figure D).

Figure D


Enable other security options. From the Security icon, you can also enable or disable the ability of participants to share the screen, chat, or change their screen names (Figure E).

Figure E


Use passwords for cloud recordings. All Zoom users can record a meeting. But only paid subscribers can access those recordings in the cloud. Passwords are now turned on by default for anyone to view a cloud-based recording (Figure F).

Figure F


Review other security options. Beyond the options accessible within Zoom, you can and should review the security settings accessible online. Browse to the Zoom website and sign in with your account. Your profile page pops up. Click the Settings option under Personal. Now review the settings under Meeting, Recording, and Telephone to see which security options you want to enable (Figure G).

Figure G


Also see

Working from home during Covid-19 pandemic.

Image: Lindsey, Getty Images/iStockphoto

By Lance Whitney

Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.