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Olivia Kynard

Interim Affirmative Action Officer/Title 9 Coordinator

President's Office

Marieb 319

413.552.2173 (Tel)

Zoom-Bombing Prevention

If you have experienced a Zoom-bombing:

Students, staff, and faculty who are impacted by Zoom-bombing or other misconduct during Zoom or other videoconferencing sessions should contact:

Title IX/Affirmative Action Officer
Olivia Kynard


HCC Dean of Students
Tony Sbalbi

What is Zoom-Bombing?

Zoom-bombing is a form of Internet trolling during which uninvited individuals disrupt Zoom meetings by sharing their screens to bombard real attendees with disturbing or distracting content.

Most attacks take advantage of publicly available Zoom links. Depending on your Zoom settings, however, some ostensibly private meetings may also be vulnerable. Below, find a few strategies that ensure your meetings are not disrupted.

Safely Hosting Public Events on Zoom

When you share your meeting link on social media or another public location (such as widely distributed email), anyone with the link can join your meeting. You may, however, occasionally require a meeting link (for office hours, for instance) that is open to a broader community. Here are some tips you can use to help when a public meeting space is necessary:

  • Avoid using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host public events. Your PMI is essentially one continuous meeting, and people can pop in and out all the time. Learn about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID.
  • Familiarize yourself with Zoom’s settings and features. Understand how to protect your virtual space when you need to. For example, the Waiting Room is a helpful feature for hosts to control who comes and goes.

Read on for a list of Zoom features that can help prevent unwanted interruptions.

Managing Screen Sharing

The simplest way to protect control of screen sharing in a Zoom meeting is never to give it up in the first place. To prevent random people in your public event from taking control of the screen, restrict sharing to yourself.

You can do this before or during the meeting by using the host controls at the bottom of the interface. Click the arrow next to “Share Screen," and then select “Advanced Sharing Options.” Under “Who can share?” choose “Host Only” and close the window. You can also lock the Screen Share by default for all your meetings in your web settings.

Managing Participants

Below are some suggested methods that enable hosts to limit meeting attendance and control how attendees participate.

Restrict entry to HCC community members. If someone tries to join your event and isn’t logged into Zoom with an invited email account, they will be forced to authenticate their credentials.

“Lock” the meeting: When you lock a Zoom meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join, even with an approved meeting ID and password. During a meeting, click “Participants” at the bottom of your Zoom window. In the Participants pop-up, click the button that says “Lock Meeting.”

Set up a password: A password adds an additional layer of security, which may be useful for meetings outside of regular class hours. You may wish to share the password in your syllabus or direct emails to your students or classmates.

Remove unwanted participants: From the same “Participants” menu, hover your mouse over a participant’s name. Several options will appear, including “Remove.” Click that to kick a participant out of the meeting.

Allow removed participants to rejoin: When you do remove someone, they can’t rejoin the meeting. But you can toggle your settings to allow removed participants to rejoin, in case you boot the wrong person.

Put participants on hold: When a host places everyone else on hold, participants’ video and audio connections are disabled momentarily. A host can also put individual participants on hold. To do so, click on someone’s video thumbnail and select “Start Attendee On Hold” to activate this feature. Click “Take Off Hold” in the Participants list when you’re ready to have them back.

Disable participants’ video: Hosts can turn anyone’s video off. This allows them to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video.

Mute participants: Hosts can mute individual participants or all of them at once to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise. You can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your settings to reduce confusion in large meetings.

Turn off file transfer: In-meeting file transfer allows participants to share files through the chat interface. Toggle this off to keep the chat from getting bombarded with unsolicited images, GIFs, or other files.

Turn off annotation: You and your attendees can annotate a screen share to mark up content. You can disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent disruptive misuses of this feature.

Disable private chat: Zoom has in-meeting chat for everyone, but participants can also message each other directly. Restrict participants’ ability to chat privately while your event is going on to limit distractions that may reduce engagement by participants.

Familiarize yourself with Zoom protocol: Review Zoom articles about reporting abusive behavior, including reporting a participant during a meeting.

Don't go it alone: Large meetings, or those intended to be open to the HCC community, should have at least one co-host. The role of the co-host is like a producer or moderator, to be focused on the participants and alleviate the burden of control from the host. The co-host(s) should make sure that all participants are muted when appropriate and be on the lookout for abusive behavior. The co-host(s) should be familiar with the controls for admitting from/removing to the waiting room, reporting abusive behavior, muting all participants, monitoring the chat, and other tools to ensure a smooth meeting. 

Adding a Waiting Room

One of the best ways to use Zoom for public events is to enable the Waiting Room feature. As its name suggests, the Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that prevents participants from joining until you’re ready for them. You can also put selected participants in the waiting room during a meeting, if necessary. (Keep in mind that while you can send a chat message to all participants in the waiting room, they cannot chat back.)

Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control, including with a unique message to alert users that they’re in the right place or to share guidelines for the meeting. To set up a Waiting Room, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your account in the Zoom Web Portal and access the “Settings” tab.
  2. Click on the “In Meeting (Advanced)” option.
  3. Search or scroll to find the “Waiting Room” option.
  4. Toggle the button next to “Waiting Room” to enable this feature.

After enabling the Waiting Room feature, you can choose either to send all participants to the Waiting Room when they join or to send only external accounts. You can also allow approved participants to admit guests from the Waiting Room if the host has not yet arrived to the meeting.


For additional Zoom information, trainings, and technical support, please contact the IT Help Desk.

Help Desk

ask a question

Got a question about HCC? Chat with us!


Olivia Kynard

Interim Affirmative Action Officer/Title 9 Coordinator

President's Office

Marieb 319

413.552.2173 (Tel)