I just got Zoom bombed and it was not very nice! – Tony Lynch

31st March 2020

I never thought this would happen to me….but it did.

This week I was launching an event. In the build up to it, I marketed the event on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

I wanted as many as possible to join in on the call. So, within the marketing, I shared the Zoom log in details. I had done this before for other events.

So, countdown begins, my call starts at 1pm, I jump on at 12.50pm and start to welcome those who are jumping in….So far so good. 

However, I then notice a few greyed out boxes appearing (those who did not want to put their video on) and then I see a picture of someone – that looked distasteful.

We are now at 1pm and I hear a very odd comment, so I jump in, muting everyone and giving a very warm welcome to all who I joined the call.

However, what would happen in the next preceding few minutes…..I was not ready for!

I am now speaking, looking at all the attendees, and then my screen goes blank. All of a sudden, a picture of someone is placed in the middle of the screen….not a nice picture!

I am caught off guard, so I quickly ask everyone – ‘Can you still all hear and see me’ one of the attendees says ‘yes – Tony, but there is an odd picture now appearing’.

We are now hearing someone (our gate-crasher) say something that is not very pleasant to us all….so I quickly go back to the settings and now click the button to stop all attendees unmuting themselves.

Everyone is now back on and I continue…..Not the start I was expecting and now trying to get back on track!…..However, within a minute things go from bad to worse!

I and the other genuine attendees are now hearing really foul language and pictures appearing on the screen and someone starts drawing right in front of us!

I am confused, how can this happen? My settings show that no attendee can unmute themselves – but we are hearing a voice (not a nice one) saying some crude stuff!

Those and I on the call quickly agree to abort the call – which we did.

I am left stunned, angry that someone could do this and sorry for the attendees that had to listen and see some awful stuff.

Many of those who attended the call, phoned me and said how they were so sorry for me that this happened. However, I was sorry for them that they had to endure those short few minutes of someone jumping in and spoiling an event.

I had a couple of IT guys on my call and they explained to me what had happened and how I can protect myself from this happening again.

I am very grateful to them.

I have since done some research as well and want to share this with you – as I would hate for you to have to endure what I did.

So here are my learnings that can help to make sure my next and your next call or meeting is not interrupted. 

  1. What I experienced is – Zoom Bombing.You can google this. In the last month, with so many of us using platforms for our meetings and calls – trolls and those who want to spoil things for you and I will unfortunately look to do so.

Zoom is not the only platform to be impacted by this. They have responded to this challenge that unfortunately some of us have experienced. Do read the article from Zoom about this.

I had innocently in my marketing advertised the log-in details for my zoom call….never again will I do that! 

I would suggest if it is an open meeting – get attendees to register on Eventbrite or another platform – so you can see who is registering with an email address. Verification is key.

You can also use the ‘Waiting room’ facility within your settings. This is similar to arriving at an event, checking in and getting a name badge – you check them in via the waiting room.

How could this person, speak to us – after I had clicked the button to stop attendees unmuting themselves??

When you set up your meeting, unclick the button that allows attendees to screen share. He was able to speak, when using screen share. Screen sharing is set up as default – so be sure to do this.

Turn off the ‘File transfer’. This will stop anyone posting files in the ‘Chat’ section, which will stop any unwanted pictures, files etc appearing in the section.

Since then, I have noticed other people and groups who advertise their zoom details publicly – be sure to change that as soon as you can. Make sure you make the appropriate changes that I have outlined as soon as possible.

As I said earlier you can google – zoom bombing and see how this has impacted so many groups meetings.

I hope my learnings (the hard way) will help to safeguard you as you use various platforms for your meetings.

If this has been helpful to you and you think it could help others – please do forward this to them.

Since the breakout of the coronavirus, we are all having to use platforms such as zoom more and more. Let’s make sure that no one spoils it for us and our attendees.


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