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Zoom releases promised security enhancements in its latest update

By Ken Wong - on 23 Apr 2020, 10:57am

Zoom releases promised security enhancements in its latest update

Image courtesy of Unsplash

With the rise of Covid-19, the cancellation of multiple events that have moved to an online launch, and the rise of working from home, video conferencing tool Zoom became an integral part of keeping in touch and maintaining communications with colleagues and staff.

Unfortunately, it was also found to susceptible to hacking or “zoombombing”, as it became known. This is when people would join Zoom calls and broadcast porn or shock videos. They could do this because Zoom’s previous default settings didn’t encourage a password to be set for meetings, and they allowed any participants to share their screen.

Following a slew of complaints about security and privacy, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan promised in a blog post to dedicate the necessary resources to better identify, address and fix these issues proactively over the next 90 days.

And now the company is delivering new security and privacy enhancements in Zoom 5.0.


Enhancing security settings

One key enhancement is the support for AES 256-bit GCM encryption standard. With this, the company is offering increased protection of meeting data in transit and resistance against tampering. This will be available over Zoom Meeting, Zoom Video Webinar, and Zoom Phone.

Zoom also made it easier for hosts and admins to access the security features that were previously spread across different meeting menus. Now they are all grouped together and found easily by clicking the Security icon in the meeting menu bar on the host's interface.

Meeting passwords is now enabled for most users. Zoom’s waiting room feature is now on by default for basic, single-license Pro, and education accounts. This feature allows a host to restrict participants in a virtual room before they’re allowed into a meeting.

For business users concerned over data sovereignty or data routing issues, they can now choose which data centre regions are used for their Zoom meetings.


An ever-growing user base

Image courtesy of Zoom

Zoom Chief Product Officer Oded Gal said in a post to the company’s blog.

We take a holistic view of our users’ privacy and our platform’s security. From our network to our feature set to our user experience, everything is being put through rigorous scrutiny.

But despite any security concerns, Zoom usage continues to grow.

Yuan said in a webinar this week that more than 300 million people used Zoom's video conferencing software on April 21, a 50% jump from 200 million daily users at the beginning of the month.

But for users who are still not too comfortable or prefer other options, here are some alternatives to Zoom we’ve found. Here are also some tips to keeping your video conferencing apps secure.

To update your Zoom app to Zoom 5.0, users can visit zoom.com/download. For more updates on the Zoom’s progress on its 90-day plan, please visit blog.zoom.us

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