Security guidelines for ITAA meeting hosts

ITAA meetings may be targeted by disruptive trolls. Below are some suggestions that can help you keep your Zoom meeting safe and secure. Meetings are encouraged to hold group consciences and discuss plans for how to prevent and respond to disruption. A video demo of the suggestions below can be found here.

Please note that these security measures are only for intentionally disruptive people, and not for censoring genuine participants from sharing, even if what they say may be triggering for others. As our third tradition states, the only requirement for ITAA membership is a desire to stop using internet and technology compulsively.

  • Arrive 5 minutes early to the meeting and enter the host code. Click on the “Participants” tab at the bottom of the Zoom screen to open up the participants sidebar. On the lower right of the sidebar is a button that says “claim host”. After clicking on this you’ll be prompted to enter the host code.
  • Ask at least one trusted member to be co-host with you. You can do this by pressing on the “…” on the top right of their video square, or next to their name on the participants sidebar. Make sure you recognize their voice or that they have their video on before making them co-host. Your meeting may wish to establish a regular tech host service position to help manage security settings and remove disruptive members.
  • If disruption does occur, click on the “Security” button at the bottom of the Zoom screen (in the shape of a shield) and press the red “Suspend Participant Activities” button. This is the fastest way to end a zoom bombing. You will have to press a second red “Suspend” button in a popup to confirm. This will turn off video and audio, disable chat, prevent users from renaming themselves, and lock the meeting (which prevents new users from joining). You can then remove the disruptive participant.
  • You can enable the waiting room by clicking on the “Security” button at the bottom of the zoom screen. You may wish to wait a minute or so before admitting unfamiliar names to the meeting. Trolls tend to join meetings partway through and work in groups, so if in the middle of the meeting you see a group of people joining the waiting room all at once, this is a sign they may be trolls (particularly if they have abnormal usernames, such as of a famous celebrity). If you are uncertain, you may wish to admit participants but be alert and ready to take swift action should anything disruptive occur.
  • By clicking on the “Security” button, you can disable participants’ ability to unmute themselves. Instead, participants will need to raise their hands (or press *9 if dialing in), and then the host can unmute them. This will prevent trolls from interrupting members while sharing. Alternatively, you may wish to disable participants’ ability to unmute themselves only while somebody is sharing, and then reenable participants’ ability to unmute themselves when the share is finished. This will prevent interruptions while still allowing participants to unmute themselves (without needing to raise their hand) when they feel moved to share.
  • You can require that all participants turn their video on during the meeting, or at least turn their video on when introducing themselves. If new members join, they can be required to turn their video on and introduce themselves. This dissuades trolls who wish to remain in the shadows.
  • You can disable participants’ ability to rename themselves. This prevents trolls from changing their names to imitate other members in the meeting, or to hide themselves from the meeting hosts.
  • You can disable the ability for participants to privately message each other in the chat by opening the chat sidebar, clicking on the “…” on the bottom right and selecting “Participants can chat with: Everyone publicly.” You could also change this to “Participants can chat with: Host only.”
  • For even greater meeting security, you can use a breakout room for the actual meeting, and then use the main room to admit people from the waiting room one at a time and vet any potential trolls. This is more complex, but highly secure. A guide and video tutorial can be found here.
  • You can also require that people send an email to the contact email ahead of time requesting the ID and passcode to join.

Page last updated on September 17, 2023