As online meeting becomes the norm due to COVID-19 pandemic, tech giant Google Inc. introduces a new security feature in its Google Meet video chat service designed to prevent “zoombombing,” or the intrusion of unwanted parties, such as trolls and hackers, into a video conference call, from happening.
In a blog update, the G Suite team detailed the specifics of the new feature. According to them, anonymous users will be blocked from G Suite for Education meetings by default to maintain users’ privacy and security while using the platform.
“To increase the privacy of education meetings in Google Meet, anonymous users (users not signed into a Google account) can no longer join meetings organized by anyone with a G Suite for Education or G Suite Enterprise for Education license. This prevents participants from sharing a link publicly to encourage anonymous users to request access,” the post reads.
As part of the new settings, users will need to sign into a Google account first before they can enter a G Suite for Education meeting. The feature is designed to be on by default, and, in case one wants to disable it, he/she must first reach out to G Suite support directly.
“There is no admin for this feature. G Suite for Education admins can request to have this feature disabled to allow anonymous participants to join Google Meet calls by contacting G Suite support to request an exception. This will allow meetings organized by users in their domain to allow anonymous users to join,” the blog post explained.
Ever since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a global surge in the use of video conferencing to continue classes and business meetings. However, along with this trend comes what is commonly referred to as “zoombombing,” or when uninvited parties, such as pranksters and hackers, crash online meets and classes. Often, these zoombombers, as they are called, interrupt discussions by hurling racial slurs and sharing pornography to participants of the online meeting.
“Anonymous users can cause disruption to learning by making noise and sharing content, and become a distraction for the meeting organizer when they try to join meetings,” the G Suite team wrote on the blog post.
The enhanced security feature is expected to roll out over the next 15 days by default to those with G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education licenses.