Our way of life has changed since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. More people are working from home. Our social life has taken a hit. Thankfully, modern technology allows us to socialize with friends and colleagues digitally. We also have a tremendous number of video conferencing apps available at our disposal. And it is safe to say that the usage of these apps have gone way up.

Of course, that means the number of attacks on these apps and video conferences has also increased. No need to fear! With some changes to a few settings, you will be able to limit who can enter your video conferences and what others can do.

We will cover Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts, since these apps are available on multiple devices. Each app will include directions for Windows 10 desktops/laptops, along with Android and iOS mobile devices.

Go To

Zoom

Skype

Google Hangouts

Zoom

Zoom’s popularity and usage has exploded during the COVID-19 outbreak, both for business and personal usage. This spike has also led to individuals with nefarious intentions entering Zoom meetings with the purpose of “Zoombombing”. These individuals have taken over screen shares and posting racist content and pornographic content in the meeting. A doctorate candidate at California State University, Long Beach, was defending his dissertation when his meeting was Zoombombed. Since then, Zoom has changed their security settings and have made it harder for individuals to see Meeting IDs they are not meant to be a part of.

Windows 10

As of April 8, Zoom has added a security button in the main toolbar of the host. This is intended to make it easier to find the tools and settings you feel are necessary to keep the video conference under control. You can find the security button on the bottom of the Zoom video conference screen, as seen below:

The security button can be found at the bottom, as seen in the red box.

The security button will bring up a menu allowing you to make the changes you feel are necessary. These settings include:

  • Lock Meeting: In the event all participants are in the meeting, you can lock the meeting. This blocks any additional individuals from joining the meeting.
  • Enable Waiting Room: The waiting room allows you to see who is attempting to join your meeting. You can allow people to join individually or allow all those who are waiting in with one click. You can also block people from coming in. To see the list of people in the waiting room, click “Manage Participants”, which is the button to the right of the security button. The waiting room is now enabled by default.

You can also change what participants can and can not do in your meeting. This includes:

  • Share Screen: This allow participants to share their screen with other participants. Unless this is crucial to the meeting, make sure you disable this setting so others can’t take over the screen.
  • Chat: The chat feature can be helpful to allow participants in your meeting ask questions during a presentation without having to interrupt or talk over one-another. If the chat feature is not needed, it would beneficial to disable it to avoid people creating distractions.
  • Rename themselves: Zoom allows people to change their name that is displayed in the meeting. If you have to make your meeting public, you will want to disable this so that people who plan on creating a nuisance can’t change their name to someone who is taking the meeting seriously, making it harder to remove people who are causing the issues by using the same name as a different participant.
  • Annotate on Shared Content: This is the feature where individuals who Zoombombed meetings have created illicit drawings and wrote threatening or racist words on a shared screen. To block participants from being able to do so, you will see the option to disable this feature in the security section when you are sharing a screen. This option will be below the rename themselves option.
Any item without a check mark indicates that feature has been disabled. You can get to this list by clicking the “Security” button.

Zoom Basic now also has a requirement for people to enter a password before entering a meeting. While you can share the link to the meeting, be careful not to have the meeting ID and password out in the open since it would obviously defeat the purpose.

Android/iOS

To change the security settings for your meeting using the Android and iOS app for Zoom*, follow these steps:

  • Look for the button on the bottom right of your device’s screen labeled “More”, then press “Meeting Settings”:
  • In the “Meeting Settings” window, you will see the options to enable or disable the waiting room, locking the meeting, allowing others to share their screens, and so on. If the button is showing as blue, that means the option is enabled. If it shows as white, then it is disabled.

*Note: While the “More” pop-up will look different on the Android and iOS apps, the “Meeting Settings” window will look the same.

Skype

Skype allows you to block calls from people who aren’t in your contact lists, as well as allowing you to opt out of being searchable by others on Skype.

Windows 10

To block people who aren’t in your contacts on Skype:

  • Press the three dots on the top left of your screen to access the list that lets you get to the Settings screen.
How to access settings in Skype.
  • Once in the settings screen, look for the “Calling” tab on the left.
  • Once inside the “Calling” tab, look for the option labeled “Only allow calls from contacts to ring on this device.”* Make sure that the button is showing blue to indicate this option is turned on.
    • *If you will be using your Skype profile on multiple devices, you must select this option on each device.

You can also prevent individuals from being able to search for you in Skype. To do this:

  • Look for the “Contacts” tab in the Settings screen. Once you access this tab, look for the tab labeled “Privacy.”
  • In the “Privacy” tab, you will see two buttons labeled “Appear in suggestions” and “Appear in search results”. To block people from finding you, turn these off. The buttons will be gray to indicate these options are off.

Android/iOS

To change the settings on both the Android and iOS mobile apps, follow these steps:

  • Press the circle with your initials at the top of the screen.
  • In the new window, press “Settings”.
  • In the “Settings” window, locate the “Calling” tab.
  • In the “Calling” window, locate the “Only allow Skype calls from contacts to ring on this device” to block unwanted calls from coming through. If the button is showing as blue, that means this option is enabled.
  • To prevent people from finding you through a search on Skype, go to the Settings window, and look for the “Contacts” tab.
  • In the “Contacts” window, look for the “Privacy” tab.
  • In the “Privacy” window, look for the button labeled “Appear in search results”. Make sure the button is showing gray, which disables people from being able to find you in a search.

Google Hangouts

With Google Hangouts, you can change who can contact you and how people you know can contact you.

Windows 10

To change the contact settings in Windows 10:

  • Click the three dots on the left side of your screen.
  • Select “Settings” in the list after pressing the dots.
  • In the “Settings” tab, look for the “Customize invite settings” at the bottom of the menu.
  • In the “Customize invite settings”, you will see the ability to use either the recommended settings or custom settings. Select custom. Below you will see:
    • People who have your phone number
    • People who have your email
    • Everyone else
  • Set the phone can email option to “Can send you an invite” and everyone else to “can’t send an invite” to have the best security options.

Android

To change the privacy settings for the Android app of Google Hangouts, follow these steps:

  • Find the button that shows three lines on the top left of the screen.
  • In the new window, press the “Settings” tab.
  • In the “Settings” window, look for the “Customize invites” tab.
  • In the “Customize invites” window, you will see the options to change:
    • People who have your phone number
    • People who have your email
    • Everyone else
  • Set the phone can email option to “Can send you an invite” and everyone else to “can’t send an invite” to have the best security options.

iOS

To change the privacy settings in the iOS app for Google Hangouts, follow these steps:

  • Look for the button with the three lines at the top left of the screen.
  • Press the “Settings” button on the screen to enter the settings.
  • In the “Settings” window, look for the “Invitations” tab.
  • In the “Invitations” window, look for the “Invitation preferences” tab.
  • In the “Customize invites” window, you will see the options to change:
    • People who have your phone number
    • People who have your email
    • Everyone else
  • Set the phone can email option to “Can send you an invite” and everyone else to “can’t send an invite” to have the best security options.

Conclusion

With the proper knowledge and guidance, you can minimize the risks of unknown people from entering your video conferences. While each conference may have different security requirements, you should be equipped to understand how to make these changes.

Think we missed an app? Notice any grammatical or spelling errors? DID WE GET SOMETHING WRONG!?!

If you think we forgot something, or you noticed a mistake, please send us an email at techsummarynotes@gmail.com.

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