Zoom is making a simple change that could help prevent unwanted guests from crashing calls

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KEY POINTS
  • Zoom call hosts currently have to go into the app’s settings and turn on the waiting room feature if they want to admit people one by one as they arrive.
  • Zoom told users in an email on Friday that as of this weekend the waiting room function will be turned on by default.
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CNBC: Eric Yuan, Zoom Video Communications
Eric Yuan, CEO, Zoom Video Communications

Zoom’s usage has increased so quickly and unexpectedly during the COVID-19 crisis that the videoconferencing company has struggled to adequately protect customers from the internet’s bad actors. The company is now addressing one of its biggest gaping holes.

Zoom said in an email on Friday that, starting Sunday, the waiting room feature will be turned on by default, meaning that the meeting organizer will be able to control which participants enter into the session.

“The Waiting Room is just like it sounds: It’s a virtual staging area that prevents people from joining a meeting until the host is ready,” the email said.

With its mobile app usage up by 10-fold over the past year and businesses, schools and nonprofits flocking to the video site to stay connected during the current pandemic, unwanted visitors have been jumping into meetings — “zoombombing” — and taking them over with pornographic and other offensive videos. Until now, meeting organizers have been able to set their accounts so that the waiting room was used, but Zoom is taking it a step further to make it the default setting.

Additionally, the company will now force meeting attendees who are joining a session manually to enter the password. People who received an invitation will still be able to join just by clicking the link. Zoom is encouraging users to visit its site, blog or attend a daily live demo for more information. 

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