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Zoom Pivots to Security Amid Ongoing Criticism

Zoom is taking drastic measures to improve its security and privacy amid criticism and scrutiny as it serves hundreds of millions of users....
Zoom Pivots to Security Amid Ongoing Criticism
Written by Matt Milano

Zoom is taking drastic measures to improve its security and privacy amid criticism and scrutiny as it serves hundreds of millions of users.

As the pandemic sweeps the globe, individuals, corporations and organizations of all types are making drastic changes to their daily workflows and routines. Zoom has become an integral part of those routines, and hundreds of millions of users have begun to rely on the platform for school, work and socializing.

Unfortunately for the company, the increased usage has also brought increased scrutiny, especially in the realm of privacy and security. The company has been called to task for not using end-to-end encryption, as its marketing claims; for leaking email addresses; for sending data to Facebook without informing users, before finally removing the offending SDK; and for a rash of Zoom-bombing incidents where outside individuals gain access to a Zoom meeting and make a nuisance of themselves.

In view of these challenges, Zoom is taking drastic action to beef up its security and privacy. In a blog post on the company’s site, founder and CEO Eric Yuan said the company is enacting a freeze for 90 days in order to shift all “engineering resources to focus on our biggest trust, safety, and privacy issues.”

The company also plans to conduct a comprehensive review with third-party experts and release a transparency report. It will also enhance its bug bounty program, and engage in a number of white box penetration tests. Zoom has also improved its privacy policy, apologized for not handling its encryption issues clearly and tried to help individuals address Zoom-bombing.

In short, the company is pulling out all the stops in an effort to improve its privacy and security, no small task given how quickly the platform has grown.

“To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million,” writes Yuan. “In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.”

As we said in a previous article, “the increased scrutiny of Zoom is a good reminder to companies that privacy and security should never be an afterthought. Instead, they should be a core feature, built in to an app or service from day one.”

That statement remains true—security and privacy should never be an afterthought. At the same time, it’s time to give credit where credit is due: Zoom is stepping up to the plate and doing everything possible to provide its users with the privacy and security they expect and deserve.

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