Google Meet adds new zoombombing protections for online classes

Google is turning on new security features in its Google Meet video chat service for meetings held by education subscribers, the company has announced. The changes, which are due to go into effect over the next 15 days, will mean that anonymous users won’t be able to join meetings organized by G Suite for Education or G Suite Enterprise for Education subscribers. An anonymous user is anyone not signed into a Google account, the company says.

The new features appear to be designed to prevent “zoombombing,” where unauthorized users connect to meetings and disrupt them by broadcasting shock videos, or hurling insults. ZDNet notes that as school lessons have moved online due to the pandemic, some students have shared links to their classes and have asked pranksters to disrupt them in the hope that they’ll be allowed to leave early.

Google isn’t the only company that’s had to deal with the problem. Zoom, where the phrase “zoombombing” comes from, has introduced a range of new security and privacy improvements to try and increase security and bring an end to the practice. With its recent 5.0 update, for example, it let users quickly lock meetings, remove participants, and restrict sharing, and it has also turned passwords on by default for most customers to restrict who can access their meetings.

In its announcement, Google says that the new security settings will be turned on by default for Education customers, and that the only way to turn them off is to contact G Suite support directly.

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