Zoom Brings Privacy And Security Patches As Millions Flock To Service

Zoom founder responds to safety and privacy concerns

As more and more people trust Zoom to work and socialize in recent weeks, the company’s privacy and security gaps have been further explored. The “Zoombombing” problem, in particular, even prompted the FBI to warn the public on videoconference calls interrupted by “pornographic and / or hateful images and threatening language”.
The update, known as Zoom 5.0, will allow meeting hosts to alert misbehaving users to zoom in for review. It also includes support for a more sophisticated encryption standard, which the company believes will help protect sensitive data as it moves from point A to point B. All users will be switched to the new encryption standard by May 30, the company said.
Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom, apologized earlier this month for the company that “fell short” of user expectations on these fronts and promised to spend the next 90 days focusing only on resolving privacy issues. The latest announcement is part of this effort.

Even with reviews, the use of Zoom continues to increase. The company now hosts 300 million meeting attendees a day, Yuan said on Wednesday. Zoom previously said it passed 200 million attendees at the daily meeting in March.

The Zoom announcement did not address support for full end-to-end encryption, the technology that would even prevent Zoom from being able to decrypt meeting content. The company said it works to provide this capability in the future. But by improving the level of its existing encryption now, Zoom hopes to resolve some criticisms of its security, including from researchers at the University of Toronto who said that its old configuration contained “significant weaknesses”.
These concerns, as well as Zoombombing, have also attracted the attention of policy makers and government officials. Some, like New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, have written on Zoom inquire about its security practices; others have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the matter. In response to the review, Zoom started expand its lobbying presence in Washington.

The company also used confidentiality and security consultants with experience working in large technology companies. Among them, Alex Stamos, the former chief security officer of Facebook, and Lea Kissner, formerly global head of privacy technology at Google.

“I am proud to have reached this milestone in our 90-day plan, but this is just the beginning,” said Yuan in the announcement on Wednesday. “We will gain the trust of our customers and bring them happiness through our unwavering commitment to provide the most secure platform.”


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