Overview

 You can deal with a Zoom bomber attack in a few minutes by take these steps in this order:

  1. Lay the groundwork by changing five settings in one go:
    • Lock meeting
    • Disable unmuting
    • Disable re-naming
    • Mute participants upon entry
    • Enable waiting room
  2. Mute all
  3. Unmute the chair
  4. Change two more settings in one go:
    • Disable screen sharing
    • Disable chat
  5. Remove the attackers
  6. Relax the controls again (optional) by:
    • Unlocking the meeting
    • Allowing participants to unmute themselves
    • Enabling chat

Your device

 There are different instructions for computers, iPads and phones. The steps are the  same, but the buttons look different.

Computers are far and away the best thing to use if you can. It will be slower and more difficult on an iPad. It will be almost impossible on a phone.

If you are running a meeting from an iPad or phone, it is strongly recommended you have a second person with a computer doing service, ready to deal with any Zoom attackers. You will need to make them the host or co-host. See the instructions in step 5 on creating co-hosts.  

Preliminary

Before starting your meeting, make sure that you have followed the instructions on how to host a secure meeting. That way, even if Zoom bombers turn up to your meeting, they will have far less power to disrupt it in the first place.

However, this guide will work even if you have not put any protective settings in place. 

Step 1 Lay the groundwork by changing five settings in one go

Select Telephone and Computer Audio so that members can join the meeting from a computer, mobile phone or landline.

As the first step, you will change five settings in one go. This will:

  • lock the meeting to stop more attackers from joining,
  • stop attackers from being able to unmute themselves and yell abuse,
  • stop attackers from being able to re-name themselves (which makes them hard to find and remove),
  • automatically mute any new attackers who are still coming into the meeting, and 
  • enable a waiting room.

To do this you will need to select ‘manage participants’ or ‘participants’ on the bottom bar of your screen.

A list will appear on the right-hand side of the screen. Down the bottom right, click ‘more’. 

A menu will appear. Change five settings, so it looks like the image below:

  • Tick ‘Mute Participants on Entry’
  • Untick ‘Allow Participants to Unmute Themselves’
  • Untick ‘Allow Participants to Rename Themselves’
  • Tick ‘Lock Meeting’
  • Tick ‘Enable Waiting Room’

If you already had these settings in place beforehand, leave them as is.

Step 2 Mute all

Next, mute all. This will stop all noise from abusive attackers and agitated members. This makes it less distressing for members, and gives you some quiet to deal with the situation.

It is important that you have already followed step 1. Otherwise attackers will be able to unmute themselves and continue with verbal harassment.

Step 3 Unmute the chair

Next, unmute the chair (or another trusted member). They can reassure members, ask them to be patient and understanding while you deal with the attackers, and continue running the meeting.

To unmute the chair, point your mouse at their name. Some buttons will appear. Click ‘unmute’. They will not be able to unmute themselves unless they are a host/co-host.

Step 4 Change two more settings in one go

Next, change two more settings in one go. This will:

  • Disable screen sharing, and
  • Disable chat.

To do so, click ‘security’ on the black bar at the bottom of the screen:

A menu will appear:

  • Untick ‘share screen’.
  • Untick ‘chat’.
  • Do not change anything else.

It will then look like the image below:

If you already had these settings in place beforehand, leave them as is.

At this point, there will still be Zoom attackers in the meeting. However, the situation should be stable enough for the chair to continue conducting the meeting while you quietly remove the attackers in the background.

Step 5 Remove the attackers

Remove the attackers one by one.

There are two ways to do this. You can use the participants list, or you can use the grid of videos – whichever you prefer.

Through the participants list

If you want to use the participants list, scroll through the list and pick an attacker by name. Point your mouse at their name. Some buttons will appear. Click ‘more’.

A menu will appear. Click ‘remove’.

Confirm that you want to remove the attacker.

Repeat this with each attacker.

If there are lots of participants, you may find it easier to look up the attacker by typing their name into the ‘search’ box. Other members may spot attackers and tell you their name, or you work out who the attackers are:

It is important that you have already followed step 1. Otherwise, the attackers will keep renaming themselves, so they jump around in the list and are hard to catch.

Through the grid of videos

Look through people’s videos until you see an attacker. Point your mouse at their video. A square will appear in the top right of their video with three dots. Click it.

A menu will appear. Click ‘remove’.

Repeat this with each attacker.

If you remove somebody, they will not be able to return for the rest of the meeting, so try not to accidentally remove any members.

Step 6 Relaxing the controls again (optional)

Once you have the Zoom bombers under control, you may or may not want to relax the controls again. If you feel confident the attack is over, you may want to:

  • Unlock the meeting.
  • Give people the power to unmute themselves again, and
  • Turn chat back on.

Guidance and waiting rooms

Unlocking the meeting may be worthwhile, because legitimate members may still be trying to get in. Bear in mind that unlocking the meeting means that anybody can come back in – attackers and legitimate members.

If anybody tries to join, they will appear in the ‘waiting room’. You will not be able to see the waiting room unless there is somebody waiting. Then a list will appear at the top of the participants list. You will have to click ‘admit’ to let them in, or ‘remove’ to block them..

You will not be able to find out any information about people in the waiting room, except what their username is. It will not be possible to tell attackers and members apart with any certainty. However, the username will often give you a hint, and you can choose to let people in one at a time, at a manageable rate. You may want to try chatting to each person as they come in, or watching their video for a few minutes after you admit them to check for any suspicious behaviour.

If you are thinking of giving people the power to unmute themselves again, be cautious. Zoom attackers may quietly hide in the meeting even after the more obvious attackers have been removed. They may pose as newcomers or anniversaries to try to get a chance to share, and then begin verbally harassing the meeting or display obscene material on their video.

You may want to turn chat back on so that members can chat. You can keep an eye on the chat for any offensive content and turn it off again if there are further problems.

Instructions

To unlock the meeting, go to the participants list on the right-hand side of the screen. Untick ‘Lock Meeting’:

To let people unmute themselves, go to the participants list on the right-hand side of the screen. Tick ‘Allow Participants to Unmute Themselves’.

To let people use chat again, click the ‘security’ button on the black bar at the bottom of the screen:

A menu will appear. Tick ‘chat’: