For some people, Zoom has all but got them through the tough Lockdown times, but there is a lot of noise about security. Still, with around 300 million daily active users, one would assume that either nothing is wrong with its security, or people aren’t phased by the prospect. Its had its security flaws and to be fair. to the company, they have addressed a lot of them, but what are some of the common zoom security issues, and what does the future look like for its users? Let’s take a closer look.
So, What Does The Past Say?
There have been instances where security has been questionable. People have experienced meetings where members have been removed mid-call and even get onto calls they were not authorized to access. These issues have since been remedied but it is an alarming prospect when sharing sensitive information.
Some of the concerns have. to do with the power that an administrator holds. With access to recorded content from their calls and information on users’ activity just the. tip of the iceberg, they might not be as private as some might think. Not only this, but administrators also have access to other sensitive information such as IP address and a user’s location.
What Is Zoom Bombing?
One of the particularly common issues with Zoom is that it is too easy for people to guess a Zoom code and access someone’s meeting. When a hacker does this, they have been found to disrupt the meeting using racial slurs and threatening behavior – no wonder many people question the security of the platform.
There are ways to make this less likely such as not sharing the meeting details on a public platform. Also, keep your Personal Meeting ID safe and don’t go handing it out to people you are not familiar with. This ID serves as your continual meeting ID so it can be difficult to keep meetings private once someone has access to it.
As the host of a meeting, you can control who is allowed access, if you do not recognize a name or ID, don’t permit them to join the meeting.
Another tip is to never give up the control of your screen to another user. This is especially the case in a public event where you are unsure whether or not you can trust the person who will gain access. It can be restricted so only you can screen share.
What Do Security Pros Say About Zoom?
Experts have had their say on Zoom’s security record, with some noting that their attitude addressing some of the problems is not exactly inspirational although they do seem to be proactive in plugging the holes. Whilst it is easy to use, this might be to its detriment until the end to end encryption arrives, but more on that later.
Whilst a lot of experts remain troubled, and notably Leticia James, the NY attorney general who wrote to the company earlier in 2020 to ask how it will be addressing the security concerns that had been made all the more serious with the spike in users thanks to Lockdown measures. One of her concerns related to their slow reaction to vulnerabilities on the platform. All the noise coming out of Zoom was that they would take strides to fix any issues and make their video conferencing safe for all.
What Are Zoom Doing About Security?
The latest update from Zoom is that they will be adding end to end encryption to their platform, with every user benefitting. An add-on feature that is available to paid and free accounts, it is certainly a step in the right direction. This will involve sharing more information initially, with verification via a phone number but this is a common approach from most companies as it prevents multiple accounts being made.
Once thought to only be made available for paid users, it is good to hear that everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of safer video conferencing.
So, Is Zoom Safe?
For the most part, Zoom seems to be perfectly safe for regular businesses or chat purposes. Discussing personal information such as bank details or health records might not be such a wise move until the end to end encryption has been implemented. Any calls relating to matters of State might still be better off in person, which is why British Prime Minister Boris Johnson came up against criticism for using it for a cabinet call whilst some of the security concerns were still floating around.
For the regular Joe, using the platform for their usual meetings, it appears to be safe for the most part.
How Many Users Does Zoom Have?
Part of why Zoom appears to have been slower to address some of their flaws is that they have grown so fast. Keeping up with demand and ensuring the platform runs as smoothly as possible, whilst making major fixes is no easy feat. It wasn’t long ago that 10 million users seemed like a lot, but fast forward to early 2020 and there were 300 million users a day.
Zoom In The News
As safe as it is, Zoom has come into hot water for different reasons. Notably, in early June, it suspended the accounts of three Chinese dissidents, although temporarily, after pressure from the Chinese government. This called into question its approach to censorship, although Zoom came out and apologized later stating it would work on a way to address such an issue in the future.
Some of the major issues with Zoom are not going to affect most users unless using it on a public platform and inviting guests and users they do not personally know. When using it among friends or for a business meeting, the platform seems to be safe enough and is only going to get safer by the looks of things to come. Once end to end encryption takes shape, there should be fewer concerns over their safety and most of the issues that have cropped up should be a thing of the past.
Still, even in the time leading up to the E2EE arriving, there will be millions of users using the popular for their meetings.