Protecting your calls from gate-crashers

Chet Ensign

Team leaders,

From time to time, we get reports of outsiders crashing team calls. There has been a recent spate of such disruptions again. The effect of these interruptions can be anywhere from merely annoying to very upsetting. Either way, you may want to take steps to protect your meetings from unwanted intruders. Feel free to share this with others in your committee. 

- First, please note that anything in your calendar entry is publicly visible. It takes a bit of digging, but it is accessible. So you don't want to put info that will allow access to the event there, particularly passcodes. Instead, consider putting the information on accessing the meeting in a file that only team members can access or sending the details in a private message to participants before the meeting starts. For TC members using Kavi, information can be entered in an action item. Only logged in TC members have access to those.

- Always use a password if the tool allows it. Zoom allows you to set up a passcode in the security section. Teams does not but apparently you can configure access rules to hold unknown parties in a lobby until you can verify their identity. 

- If the tool allows for a waiting room or lobby area, consider using it. The 'Join before host' will not work and you, as host, will have to start the meeting before others can come in and start discussion. However, a waiting room will let you keep people you don't recognize out of your call.

- In Zoom, if the waiting room is enabled, you can click the More button to the right of a guest's name in the meeting Participants display, then select 'Put in waiting room' to send them back outside of your meeting.

- If you can collect identifying information on the intruder, we can report them to Zoom. While it may not have an immediate effect, users who abuse access to Zoom can be banned from the platform.

- According to Zoom, while in a meeting, you can report a participant for inappropriate behavior. Reported participants are removed from the meeting.

To do this:

* As the meeting host or a participant, click the meeting information icon  in the top-left corner of the window.
* In the bottom-left corner of the meeting information dialog, click the red Report link.
* Fill out the dialog box; enter the participant(s) you would like to report and the reason for reporting the person.
* If you are not currently signed in to your Zoom account, enter your email address.
* (Optional) Select the Include desktop screenshot check box to include a current screenshot of your desktop.
* Click Submit.
You will receive a notification that your report was sent successfully.

More information on responding to inappropriate behavior can be found at

No one likes having to take these sorts of precautions. But it is a fact of our modern life that we have to. We hope these suggestions help you avoid hassles. If you have any tips of your own, please send them along so that we can share them. 

Thanks & best regards, 



Chet Ensign

Chief Technical Community Steward


+1 201-341-1393