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Zoom adds two-factor authentication: How to enable 2FA

Zoom app
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

After facing months of backlash for its security policies, Zoom has finally brought two-factor authentication to all users. The extra security measure will help prevent Zoomboming (when uninvited guests disrupt a call) and give users an added layer of privacy protection. 

Two-factor authentication is widely recommended by security experts for online services that hold personal or private information. When enabled, it requires you to input a one-time code from a mobile authenticator app, text message, or phone call as an extra step to verify the account holder. This way, an attacker can't access your account even if they brute-forced your login credentials or stole them in a previous breach.

Zoom's growth has been exponential since the coronavirus pandemic accelerated a move to remote work. However, the company's successes have been marred by security and privacy concerns. The backlash Zoom received forced it to implement a 90-day feature freeze to address issues and win back users' trust. 

The video conferencing service may have been late to the game but its 2FA implementation is thorough. You can enable 2FA on Zoom's web portal, desktop client, mobile app and the Zoom Room. Admins can enable 2FA for users and require them to use it to enter a call. They can also reset 2FA if a participant doesn't have access to their phone.

Once 2FA is enabled in Zoom, you can use the Google Authenticator app, Microsoft Authenticator or FreeOTP. Those apps are available on both Android and iOS, so 2FA will work with any smartphone.

Below are instructions on how to set up 2FA in Zoom. Keep in mind, the steps for setting up 2FA differ slightly depending on whether you're an admin or a user. We'll start with instructions for admins before explaining how users can enable the security feature.

How to enable 2FA in Zoom (as an admin)

  • Admins will first need to sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  • Once there, go to the navigation menu and choose Advanced > Security.
  • Enable the "Sign-in with Two-Factor Authentication" option.
  • Decide whether you want to enable 2FA for all users in the account or only users with specific roles (Click the pencil icon > roles > OK) or those belonging to specific groups (Click the pencil icon > groups > OK)
  • Click Save.

How to enable 2FA in Zoom (as a user)

  • Sign in to the Zoom web portal after the admin has enabled 2FA.
  • Select Authentication App or SMS as your authentication method.
  • If you chose Authentication App, open the 2FA app (Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, FreeOTP) on your phone.
  • Tap the QR code icon and scan the QR code in the Zoom web portal. 
  • This will generate a 6-digit, one-time code. Click Next. 
  • Enter the code and click Verify. Save the list of recovery codes shown on the next screen in case you lose your mobile device. 
  • If you chose SMS in step 2, you will need to enter your phone number. Zoom will send you a 6-digit code via SMS. Copy and paste this code into the web portal and hit Verify. Download or print the recovery codes.