How to secure your privacy on Zoom

How to secure your privacy on Zoom
The Siliconreview
18 Febuary, 2021

How secure is your privacy on Zoom? The answer is not very much. Here are a few ways to make it much safer for you.

In response to the limitations of meeting in person due to the coronavirus pandemic, video communication platforms have risen significantly in prominence. One name stands above all others: Zoom. The stock price of Zoom (who have risen above the others to become the market leader in online video communication) stood at 73 dollars at the start of 2020. Now it is extremely impressive, clocking in at over 400 dollars. You may be finding yourself using Zoom more and more as more people are working at home and using it as a tool to keep in touch with family and friends.

Nonetheless, there have been notable security breaches on the platform that put its efficacy in question. They span from the minor, such as brief outages, to serious compromises, which allow hackers to use the platform to completely take over your data. To ensure that this kind of problem never happens to you, this guide will outline a variety of ways in which to secure your privacy!

Always download the latest version

Zoom is improving all the time. As a result of the backlash it received in early 2020, its owners have pledged to drastically improve the platform. This means that whenever you log into Zoom and they ask you if you want to upgrade to the latest version, you should do so immediately. These fixes can range from increased encryption to minor bug fixes, but they can also clear up critical errors that allow hackers to more easily take advantage of your software and use it to their advantage. Check regularly and proactively for coming updates to make your Zoom connection far more secure.

Join meetings with the code, not the link

Part of Zoom's success lies with the easy way that one can join a meeting. While on the face of it this seems like one of the best features of the videoconferencing platform, you should not just unthinkingly click on the link, as this is a surefire way to allow hackers to jump onto your platform. Instead, the smarter option is to type in both the meeting ID and your password into Zoom itself, giving you that extra sense of security. This is also another reminder that you should always:

Secure meetings with a password

Sometimes the security problem is not with Zoom itself, but with people gaining access to meeting invitations that are leaked on other social media and messaging sites. An extra layer of security can be implemented by securing these meetings with an alphanumeric password that simply cannot be guessed. Additionally, if possible, reveal the password over a phone call so you can be sure that no one outside of your immediate circle can gain access to it.

Use the web platform

When you download the Zoom app, you are allowing hackers easier access into both your computer and your personal data. One way to counteract this is to use the web platform instead, which guarantees an extra browser-enforced layer of security. It might not be as convenient in the beginning, but it will sure be more convenient in the long run as your account is less likely to be hacked.

Keep the waiting room feature

With the waiting room feature, you can screen ahead of the official start of the meeting as to who is joining. This way you can check who all the different participants are and if there is somebody in the waiting room that you do not recognize, simply do not allow them to join the meeting. Make sure to ask everyone involved beforehand what their usernames are, so you can be completely sure who is joining the call.

Avoid phishing scams

Phishing scams are common across not just the world of Zoom, but on the internet in general. If you get an email claiming to be from the platform, as these people have done, always double check to see if it is an official Zoom email. If not you are simply opening the backdoor and allowing hackers to steal everything from your computer. If you are not 100% sure that the email is from Zoom proper, immediately flag it as spam!

Sign in with your work email

Zoom hackers love to get hold of people's email addresses whenever there is a data breach, because then they have a useful treasure trove of personal information. When registering for and signing in with Zoom, it is recommended to use your work email instead, as it is more likely that there will be far less sensitive information attached. Just be sure to check with your employer first before you make that choice. Likewise, if you are studying a degree such as an online ms in computer science, then you can always use your university email instead!

Use an alphanumeric log in password

When logging in with Zoom — and make sure to log out after every session — use a secure, automatically generated alphanumeric password, which means that it has a mixture of random numbers and letters. This makes it much harder for hackers to guess. To make it extra secure you can also throw in capital letters and obscure symbols. Additionally, be sure to change your password regularly in case there is another breach that you do not know about yet. The recommended amount is about once a month.

Consider Switching to a Securer Platform

This guide should have given you an overview to make using Zoom far more securely. Nonetheless, if you have implemented all of these measures, but you are still unhappy with the service that Zoom is providing, there is no shame in simply switching to a different web service. Skype, after being pushed to the sidelines in 2020, is still there, as are a host of other, less controversial services. The one most people consider as one of the securest platforms around is Cisco Webex, who have over 25 years’ experience in providing video services, making them far more advanced than Zoom.