ZoomBombing and how to thwart it

Video Collaboration Gate Crashing, also known as ZoomBombing, is an interruption of a synchronous online session or meeting in a malicious manner. This is made possible when a session link is shared with participants and then becomes available to individuals other than those attended participants. Some hacker websites have begun to publish these links, and some individuals or groups are taking the opportunity to cause disruptions to the online classes.

What Are Some Examples?

Some examples of the reported Gate Crashing include:

Chat messages

  • Racist vitriol being posted as text or images
  • Sexually inappropriate messages being posted as text or images
  • Links to pornographic websites

Screen sharing

  • Images or video shared containing pornographic, racist, or offensive content

Video interruptions

  • Virtual backdrops behind “participants” that contain pornographic or offensive images
  • Racist vitriol
  • Additionally, “denial of service” attacks have been reported.  This is a process where an individual or group overwhelms the video session to the point that the meeting or class cannot take place.
  • These attacks can be prevented with some careful platform settings.

How to avoid ZoomBombing

  1. Utilize Blackboard Collaborate Ultra as it is embedded into our Learning Management System (myClass). Host your online class or virtual meeting from within a course rather than a shared link.  This will ensure only registered participants with an LMC Password can join the session.
  2. When using Bluejeans or other meeting apps, consider avoiding the use of a Personal Meeting ID (PMI) or a permanent virtual meeting with an open hyperlink.  Instead, schedule a meeting or class and create a new session each time, or
  3. Alternatively, consider using a password for guests to enter the session. Emailing this password separately from the hyperlink.
  1. Become familiar with the settings of the platform you are using and disable any options that allow others to become a distraction.  Standard settings to ensure include:
    • Do not allow guests to join before a moderator.
    • Do not allow participants to share their screen automatically.
    • Do not permit guests to post in the chat unless it is a closed session or a co-moderator can assist.
    • Do not allow virtual backdrops for guest video sharing. If you are new to video collaboration, consider a co-host who can help monitor the discussions in the chatbox, this can be a colleague, student leader, etc.
  2. If you are new to video collaboration, consider a co-host who can help monitor the discussions in the chat box, this can be a colleague, student leader, etc.

More information on this can be found at:

Zoom specific resources: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/20/keep-the-party-crashers-from-crashing-your-zoom-event/

BlueJeans specific resources: https://support.bluejeans.com/s/article/Meeting-Controls-for-Participants-and-Moderators


Constine, J. (2020). Beware of ‘ZoomBombing:’ screensharing filth to video calls. TechCrunch.

Hern, A. (2020, March 27). Trolls exploit Zoom privacy settings as app gains popularity. The Guardian, International Edition

Kingsley-Hughes, A. (2020). How to prevent your Zoom meetings being Zoom-bombed (gate-crashed) by trolls. ZDNet. 

O’Flaherty, K. (2020, March). Beware Zoom Users: Here’s How People Can ‘Zoom-Bomb’ Your Chat. Forbes

Zoombombing Resources. (2020). Keep Teaching, University of Southern California.