Zoom Bombing: What Is It and How to Prevent It

During the coronavirus pandemic, many people who can work from home have been using Zoom, a workplace tool connecting colleagues for virtual meetings. The rise of use in the app has also come with negatives though, like "Zoom bombing." It's like photobombing, with uninvited people jumping into meetings, often with nefarious designs in mind. Thankfully, there are ways to keep it from happening with Zoom's settings.

Zoom can be used to connect colleagues, friends and families while social distancing. Schools have also been using the tool to conduct classes online. The system has a free tier, and has become on of the most popular video conferencing services during the coronavirus pandemic. It is easy to use and the free version allows up to 100 users to meet. The free version has no time limit for one-on-one meetings, but there is a 40-minute limit for group meetings.

Since most Zoom meetings have a public link that anyone can click on, they have been easy bait for trolls, notes The Verge. When scheduling a meeting through the web interface, you will not see the option to disable screen sharing. Instead, you have to click on "Settings" in the menu on the left, scroll down to "screen sharing." There, you will see "Who Can Share?" Click on "Host Only" and then click "Save." After that, future meetings will have sharing disabled by default.

zoom screen sharing
(Photo: Zoom)

Another option, outlined by Business Insider, is creating "waiting rooms." In order to do this, go to account management, then account settings. Scroll all the way down to "Waiting Room" and enable it. Next, you can chose which participants have to go into the waiting room. "All participants" will put everyone in the waiting room, while "guest participants only" puts in people who are not logged into the waiting room. After that, you can set up different waiting rooms for different scheduled meetings. Once the meeting starts, those users will have to wait until the host allows them access to the meeting.

A Zoom spokesperson also sent a statement to Forbes outlining how to stop "Zoom bombing" from happening.

"For those hosting private meetings, password protections are on by default and we recommend that users keep those protections on to prevent uninvited users from joining," the spokesperson said. "We also encourage users to report any incidents of this kind directly so we can take appropriate action."

"For extra security, users can and should set up a password entry system," Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, told Forbes. "This is effectively two-factor authentication for participants to use before entering the chat. Again, this password should only be shared privately."


Since Zoom became popular, shocking "Zoom bombing" stories have been popping up. Members of an Alcoholics Anonymous group in New York told Business Insider their meeting was interrupted by someone who yelled "Alcohol is so good." The person also made misogynistic comments and used anti-Semitic slurs. In Austin, Texas, a University of Texas meeting for young black men was interrupted by two young men saying the N-word.

Photo credit: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images