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How to prevent your Zoom class session being hijacked

With the recent transition to online learning, there have been incidents of class sessions conducted via Zoom being hijacked by disruptive and offensive behavior. Zoom has now responded to feedback from customers and adjusted our default FSU settings to help secure Zoom class meetings. Our recommendations in this guide will help you to prevent such a disruptive incident from happening in your Zoom session, and equip you to quickly respond and shut down any disruption. "Zoombombing" does not have to destroy your Zoom meetings and rob your students of valuable class sessions!

If you use the Zoom desktop client for your class meetings, make sure you are using the latest version. This helps to protect you against security vulnerabilities in addition to following the recommendations in this article. Zoom has recently released a new security feature to corral several security options together in the same place for easier management during meetings.

Before the Zoom meeting

Communicate your expectations for Zoom meetings to students

We recommend posting a Canvas announcement outlining your expectations for course Zoom sessions. Make it clear that anyone who is offensive or grossly inappropriate will be reported to FSU's Student Affairs Office and will receive disciplinary action. The same goes for anyone sharing the Zoom meeting URL with anyone who is not formally enrolled in the course. This will help to proactively set the tone before the Zoom meeting has even started. We recommend also adding this statement to your course syllabus so that it is always easily available for students to reference.

Configure your individual Zoom user settings

Your individual FSU Zoom account settings impact what functionality is available to your students in the Zoom meetings that you schedule. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you configure your Zoom user settings so that your students only have the permissions in Zoom that you want them to have.

If you will not be having any guest (non-FSU) lecturers speak to your class, then we recommend that you switch on the setting in your individual Zoom account for only allowing authenticated users to join your meetings. When you schedule your course meetings in Canvas, you will have the option to further restrict your meetings to FSU users only (your students will have to login to their FSU Zoom account; they will not be able to join your meetings anonymously or using a personal, non-FSU-affiliated Zoom account). If you are having some guest speakers who do not have their own Zoom accounts, then do not switch on this setting in your account. Instead, switch this setting on for individual meetings in your Canvas course that will not feature a guest speaker.

Use the Canvas integration of Zoom for course meetings

One of the best ways to avoid Zoom hijacking is to schedule your course meetings using the Zoom integration in Canvas. This way, you don't need to share the join URL with your students, so no one can post the join URL for your meeting anywhere outside of Canvas. When posting a Canvas announcement or sending an email to your students, simply use the announcement to tell students to go to the "Zoom" area of the Canvas course to join the scheduled meeting.

If you will not have any guest speakers in your Zoom meeting, we strongly recommend that you require users to authenticate to join the meeting. This way, only people who have Zoom accounts will be able to access your meeting. If desired, you can even restrict your course meetings to only allow FSU students, staff, and faculty to join them.

During the Zoom meeting

Zoom has recently released a new security feature to corral several security options together in the same place for easier management during meetings. This will make it easier to follow the recommendations below.

A. Immediately shut down your students' ability to screen-share when you start the meeting

In response to feedback about zoombombing incidents, Zoom has now changed the default settings, so you should no longer have to disable student screen-sharing permissions. The new default settings allow only the meeting host (instructor) to share their screen. If you want your students to share their screens, you can give students screen-sharing permission later when you are ready for them to start sharing their screens.

Follow the steps below to make sure that no one can hijack the screen sharing function. If a student is already sharing their screen, this action will immediately end their screen share.

  1. In the host control bar at the bottom of the screen, click the arrow next to the "Share Screen" icon and select Advanced Sharing Options.
  2. In the window that appears, select the following:
    Under "How many participants can share at the same time?," select One participant can share at a time.
    Under "Who can share screen," select Only Host.
    (Remember, if you want an individual student to be able to share their screen later, you can manually allow them to do so from the participants panel).
  3. Close the window.

B. Disable students' ability to make annotations while you are sharing your screen

FSU now automatically disables students' ability to make annotations during screen-sharing by default. Only the user who is sharing their screen may make annotations unless you opt to allow everyone to make annotations. If there are situations in which you want students to make annotations while you are sharing your screen, you can enable this option by doing the following:

  1. Share your screen.
  2. Click ... More on the right of the settings bar.
  3. Select Allow participants to annotate.

If a student is making inappropriate annotations, you can stop all students from annotating your shared screen.

C. Use the "Mute All" function if needed

You can mute everyone except for yourself. You can also then manually unmute individual students as needed throughout the meeting.

D. Disable students' video feeds

It is not possible to bulk switch off all participants' video feeds. However, you can disable individual students' webcam feeds one-by-one from the participants panel:

  1. Select Manage Participants from the host control bar at the bottom of your screen.
  2. Locate the disruptive student in the Participants panel and select the more button.
  3. Select Stop video.

E. Remove a disruptive student/attendee from the meeting at your discretion

  1. Select Manage Participants from the host control bar at the bottom of your screen.
  2. Locate the disruptive student in the Participants panel and select the mute button if needed.
  3. Select the more button and then select Remove from the options that appear.

F. Lock the meeting once all of your students have joined

You may only need to do this if someone has been disruptive and you have had to remove them from your Zoom meeting. However, if you are concerned, you can lock your meeting at any time so that no one else is able to join the meeting after that point. We recommend allowing enough time for all your students to join before locking the meeting. When considering whether or not to use this option, keep in mind that if any of your students experience a connectivity issue and need to get back into the meeting, they will be unable to do so if you have locked it.

After the Zoom meeting

At your discretion, report the incident to FSU's Student Affairs via the portal. You can also view an attendance report for your Zoom meeting to confirm which student/attendee had been disruptive.

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  • 02-Nov-2020