Zoom Bombing
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Zoom Bombing

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Zoom Bombings


"Zoom bombings" are coordinated attacks against classes and other Zoom-based meetings involving disruption by multiple people sometimes shouting racial, antisemitic and misogynistic slurs or sharing pornographic images and videos. We have experienced an instance of Zoom bombing here at Harvard Extension so preparation is imperative.

At the first sign of disruption to your class meeting, you should immediately end the meeting for all.

Create a Game Plan

In the event of a Zoom bombing, you should not try to remove or mute individual disruptors as there are often too many. Instead, at the first sign of disruption to your class meeting, you should immediately end the meeting for all and move to a Plan B. 

Things to Consider When Creating Plan B

  • While it's important for you and your students to process a Zoom bombing, you may or may not want to resume live class. You could create a new Zoom link and send it to your students, but you could also move discussion to an online tool such as Yellowdig, Piazza, Canvas Discussions, or Canvas Chat and record any additional lectures the next day.
  • Zoom bombings can be disturbing and disruptive. Imagine teaching after such an event and whether you would like to have live discussion with your students or a mediated text-based discussion. 
  • If your course is normally recorded, you'll need to make sure you record your new Zoom meeting if you create one.

Share Your Plan

Talk to your students in advance about a Plan B for resuming your class meeting in the event of disruption. Think of it like doing a fire drill with your class to prepare.

Tell them:

  • Where they should look for information from you (Canvas announcement, email, etc.)
  • How you'll plan to resume (send them another Zoom link, move the rest of class discussion to an online discussion tool like Yellowdig, Piazza or Canvas discussions, etc.)
  • Let them know it will take a bit of time for your to regroup and they should be patient. 

Contact the Help Desk

You can contact our help desk at 617-998-8571 or webconference@dce.harvard.edu.  

  • Report any incidents of Zoom bombings should they occur
  • Get help creating a new link for your course in an emergency situation
  • Learn how to edit recordings if an incident occurs and you don't have a course producer

Prevent Zoom Bombings

Updates to Your Class Zoom Link

The Teaching and Learning Team has updated the Zoom meeting for your class to increase security.

  • Screen share and annotation are set to host-only unless you authorize other users.
  • A password is embedded in your link. As long as you and your students access the link from Canvas, they will be able to enter the meeting without having to type in the password. You and your students will not be able to use bookmarked links.
  • The Teaching and Learning team did not update meetings that you have created like section meetings or office hours. Please update those and add a password as soon as possible.
  • Zoom has turned off the feature that allows you to share files through the chat. Instead, upload your file to a page in Canvas and share the link to the Canvas page.

We'll roll out additional security features as they become available and will keep you updated.

Make sure you keep your Zoom account up to date so that you can take advantage of any new security features Zoom offers.

New Zoom Security Tab

Zoom security panel, with mouse over Lock Meeting function

Zoom just released a new "Security" tab. Some of the features  very helpful for your course and others less so. Here's a run-down on the new features. Make sure you keep your Zoom account up to date so that you can take advantage of these new security features and any updates they make to them in the coming weeks.

Lock Meeting

Not Recommended

This features allows you to lock your meeting only to participants who are in the room. If students drop off the meeting due to poor connection, they would be unable to return to class. 

Turn on the Waiting Room

Recommended with Reservations

This feature puts anyone who wants to enter your Zoom meeting into a waiting room where they must be manually admitted to class. Because students often drop off the meeting and return, however, someone needs to keep watch on it to let students back in, which is very hard to do while you are teaching. 

We recommend you only use this feature if:

  • you have a TA who is the host of your meeting and can keep watch 
  • you have a fairly small class

Allow Participants to ...

Share Screen and Annotate Content

Keep restricted until you need to use it

To prevent security breaches, keep these features restricted to host only until you need to give students access (for presentations or problem solving, for example). When you do need to give them access, you can do so through this link.

Chat and Rename Themselves

Use it if you choose

If you've been using chat in your course, you can continue to do so. You can also allow your students to rename themselves here. We have not restricted these features, but you can do so through this link. 

Remove Participants

Recommended with Reservations

This feature allows you to quickly remove a participant from the meeting. If you have a single, disruptive student or a student who is driving, this is useful. 

If your class is Zoom bombed and disrupted, you should instead "End the Meeting for All" immediately. Don't try to remove participants one by one.