(if you just want to know about using Zoom it, scroll down a bit)
In the early days of the COVID lock-down, Zoom was widely criticised for its poor security. Not surprisingly given the size of the market in front of them they reacted quickly and considerably improved their system. It’s almost certainly not perfect, few pieces of software are, but it has certainly improved and is now (version 5.9.1) unlikely to be any riskier than any other software you use. The increased use of Zoom during lockdowns has vastly increased the user base and the size of the community looking for bugs – the more common a piece of software is, the more likely any problems will be found and fixed.
There is good guidance on using video conferencing available from the National Cyber Security Centre, but the main points are :
- Only download software from a known source (e.g. Apple Store, Google Play or Zoom’s own website).
- Check (and understand) the privacy settings.
- Use a strong password on your account (which is different from the others you use, current guidance is to use three random words and a few other characters e.g. “3redhousemonkeys27!”), or if you find it too difficult to remember lots of passwords, use a password manager
- Only join (or host) meetings that require a password, this reduces the chances of an uninvited guest as they’d need to guess both the Meeting ID and the correct password and the time the meetings was taking place.
- Check what your camera is showing to other people – don’t have a backdrop of a noticeboard with all your passwords and bank details written on it !!
- Know how to mute yourself and switch off your video – you might need to, and in large meetings (more than about 8 people) you really need to mute yourself when not speaking or it becomes chaos.
- Keep ALL of your software and applications up to date. Most updates are released because the developers have found a bug and someone somewhere will be trying to work out if they can exploit that bug somehow. If they can, and you haven’t updated your software then you’re vulnerable. Think of software updates as ‘social distancing for computers’!
So, you’ve done all the above, how do you actually use Zoom ? Well, it’s probably easier to watch someone showing you than try to write about it. There are loads of videos available on You Tube, but three that cover most possibilities are linked below. Remember you can pause and rewind ;-).
Full demo covering all of Zoom on a PC (14 mins)
Zoom on a mobile phone (10 mins)
Zoom on an iPad or iPhone (11 mins)