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Protect Yourself and Your Kehillah from Zoombombing

Antisemitic hackers are exploiting quarantine to infiltrate Jewish online meetings ‘Zoombombers’ broadcast explicit imagery or abuse other users in video hangouts Click here and here to read about the phenomenon

‘Zoombombing’ comes for houses of worship

“I think places of worship need to be really careful when they put public Zoom links on their websites, especially if those links are to meeting spaces where there will be young children,” Merritt told Religion News Service. “Places of worship, ideally, want to be places that anyone can attend. At the moment, they need to balance this desire to be open to all who seek and the reality that there are folks out there who would sabotage these digital spaces.”

The epidemic of “Zoombombing” has spared no one, with trolls finding meeting links that have been posted online, then sharing and drawing graphic content on participants’ screens — leaving schools and universities, churches and synagogues alike with no choice but to close their meetings abruptly.

A Shabbat service held via Zoom by a Bay Area synagogue was crashed by Nazis. A Unitarian Universalist church in Massachusetts saw a livestreamed service on YouTube deluged with dislikes. A livestreamed church service in Los Angeles was hacked and replaced with porn. A Zoom webinar last week with the People’s Forum, an activist-oriented cultural space directed by theologian Claudia de la Cruz, was disrupted by a troll posting the n-word in the chat window repeatedly until administrators blocked him.

When you share your meeting link on social media or other public forums, that makes your event … extremely public. ANYONE with the link can join your meeting. Avoid using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events. Your PMI is basically one continuous meeting and you don’t want randos crashing your personal virtual space after the party’s over. Learn about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID (at the 0:27 mark) in this video tutorial. Familiarize yourself with Zoom’s settings and features so you understand how to protect your virtual space when you need to. For example, the Waiting Room is an unbelievably helpful feature for hosts to control who comes and goes
Click here to read How to Keep the Party Crashers from Crashing Your Zoom Event at Zoom Blog

Zoom Safety ChecklistFrom the ADLBefore Meeting:
Disable autosaving chatsDisable file transferDisable screen sharing for non-hostsDisable remote controlDisable annotationsUse per-meeting ID, not personal IDDisable “Join Before Host”Enable “Waiting Room”

During Meeting:
Assign at least two co-hostsMute all participantsLock the meeting, if all attendees are present

If you are Zoombombed:
Remove problematic users and disable their ability to rejoin when askedLock the meeting to prevent additional Zoombombing

Instructions for how to perform all of these steps are included below.
While most meetings won’t be Zoombombed, there are some safety measures that you can take when you host a Zoom meeting. ADL’s Center for Technology and Society recommends the following:

When scheduling or setting up a meeting you will host:

Set Safe Meeting Default Settings  On the Zoom Settings page, turn off participant controls: Sign into Zoom.us.Click on the Settings link on the upper right (it looks like a gear).On the right side of the page, turn off: Autosaving chats, file transfer, screen sharing, and remote control.

Assign a Co-Host For larger meetings, identify a co-host or two ahead of time whose role is to be a virtual room monitor and manage order during the meeting by managing the participants. Co-hosts are assigned during a meeting and cannot start a meeting.
Sign into Zoom.us.Click on the Settings link on the left of the screen.Scroll down to the Co-host option on the Meeting tab and verify that the setting is enabled.Turn on Co-Host. If a verification dialog displays, choose Turn On to verify the change.

Assign a per-meeting ID, don’t use your Personal Meeting ID Avoid using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events. Your PMI is basically one continuous meeting – your personal virtual space; and once it is published, others can join at any time. Learn about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID (at the 0:27 mark) in this video tutorial.

Prevent Screen Sharing by non-hosts To prevent participants from screen sharing during a call, use the host controls at the bottom of the window, click the arrow next to Share Screen and then choose Advanced Sharing Options. Under “Who can share?” choose “Only Host” and close the window. You can also lock the Screen Share by default for all of your meetings in your web settings.

Enable the Waiting Room Before you start your meeting, enable the Waiting Room for your meeting. You and your co-host will then play an active role in choosing who to allow into the room through the participants list.

Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control, and can even personalize the message that people see when they enter the Waiting Room so they know they’re in the right spot. This is a great way to post rules and guidelines for your event, like your screensharing or muting policy.

Disable Join Before Host Before starting a meeting, disable Join Before Host to keep users out before the host arrives. This is the current default, but double check to make sure that it is set for the meeting. When “Join Before Host” is enabled, anyone can enter at any time and create havoc with other participants before the meeting officially starts.
Turn off file transfer In-meeting file transfer allows people to share files through the in-meeting chat. Toggle this off to keep the chat from getting bombarded with unsolicited pics, GIFs, memes, and other content.

Turn off annotation You and your attendees can doodle and mark up content together using annotations during screen share. Disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent people from writing all over the screens.   Once the meeting starts:
Manage Disruptive Participants The Meeting Participants window offers control over most aspects of your meeting and those attending. Zoom has a 10 minute long video that is recommended viewing for all hosts and co-hosts. 

Locking the Meeting to Prevent Re-Joining of Removed Participants During the meeting, a host or co-host can click on the More and Mute All Controls at the bottom of the Participants List.  When viewing the Participants List, click Lock Meeting (under More) to prevent other participants from joining the meeting in progress.

Muting All Participants During the meeting, a host or co-host can click on the More and Mute All Controls at the bottom of the Participants list. 

On the Participants List, click Mute All to mute all meeting attendees.

More resources:How to Keep the Party Crashers from Crashing Your Zoom EventZoom-bombing: How to keep trolls out of your Zoom meetings‘Zoombombing’: When Video Conferences Go WrongGuidelines to Prep for Zoombombing (Infographic)

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