Zoom Video Conferencing Poses Security Issues for Users Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many companies have switched to using Zoom for videoconferencing. The main features of Zoom include: “meetings” which is designed for collaboration, training and technical support; screen sharing, HD video and audio, and remote screen control features.

However, there have been reports that Zoom’s claims and marketing are misleading, and that the company’s policies give users a false sense of security. Unfortunately, according to The Intercept, Zoom video calls are not end-to-end encrypted. Further, Motherboard reported that Zoom has been leaking the email addresses of thousands of people because personal addresses are treated as if they belong to the same company. 

Zoom security issues:

  1. Apple was forced to secure millions of Macs after a security researcher realized that Zoom installed a secret web server on users’ Macs, which Zoom failed to remove once the client was uninstalled. According to the researcher, Jonathan Leitschuh, any malicious website could activate the Mac webcam with Zoom installed without the user’s permission.
  2. Zoom was discretely sending data to Facebook about a user’s Zoom habits even if the user didn’t have a Facebook account. Motherboard reported that the app was notifying Facebook when a user opened the app. Zoom removed the code in response, but a class action lawsuit was filed, and the New York Attorney General launched an investigation about this.
  3. Zoom has a controversial feature called “Attendee tracking” which, once enabled, allows a host to check if participants are clock away from the main Zoom window during a call.
  4. A security research found that the Zoom uses a technique to install its Mac app without use interaction. The same tricks are being used by macOS malware. 
  5. Zoom’s “dark patterns” doesn’t make it easy to start a video call just using a browser.
  6. Zoom has come under fire regarding its lack of transparency with law enforcement requests it received. Access Now (a privacy and rights group) called on Zoom to release the number of requests it receives, just as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants report on a semi-annual basis.
  7. Perhaps one of the most unsettling issues related to unprotection is the Zoombombing, where trolls take advantage of open meetings and poor default settings to take over screen-sharing and broadcast porn or other explicit material. This week, the FBI has warned users to adjust their settings to avoid trolls hijacking video calls.
  8. Zoom tightened its privacy policy after it was criticized for allow Zoom to collect information about users’ meetings like videos, transcripts and shared notes – for advertising. 

There are many more privacy-focused alternative apps to Zoom. Each option has their pitfall, but companies and small business owners should exercise caution when using Zoom. Click here to read more at www.techcrunch.com.