Boosting security of Zoom, the pandemic’s social network

Abe Smith, Head Of International at Zoom Video Communications, says boosting security is the company's priority.
Abe Smith, Head Of International at Zoom Video Communications, says boosting security is the company’s priority.

Almost overnight, Zoom has become part of our daily lives. Whether to conduct company meetings, or catch up with our friends. In fact, Zoom has been called the pandemic’s social network. This is why the recent acquisition of Keybase is important. With this, Zoom has taken a strategic step in boosting the security of its video communications platform.

“We are proud of the role we are playing during this challenging time, including supporting healthcare providers around the world as they work to stay connected with their patients and teams; helping numerous governments and government agencies continue fulfilling their public duties safely and effectively; and supporting tens of thousands of schools and universities globally for remote learning,” Abe Smith, Head Of International at Zoom Video Communications, told Digital Life Asia.

Zoom’s security features

“On May 7, Zoom announced the acquisition of Keybase, whose exceptional team of security and encryption engineers will accelerate Zoom’s plan to build end-to-end encryption that can reach current Zoom scalability. Once completed, we believe Zoom will provide equivalent or better security than existing consumer end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms, but with the video quality and scale that has made Zoom the platform choice of over 300 million daily meeting participants, including those at some of the world’s largest enterprises,” he said.

Smith pointed out that even before the Keybase acquisition, Zoom was hard at work boosting security.

“We take user privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously. In April, we committed to dedicating the resources needed to better identify, address, and fix issues proactively and being transparent throughout the process. This includes shifting all of our engineering resources to focus on trust, safety and privacy matters. We are doing what it takes to maintain our users’ trust,” he said.

On April 27, the company introduced the Zoom 5.0 update.

“The new Zoom 5.0 has one of our most advanced security enhancements to date with support for AES 256-bit GCM encryption, one of the most secure encryption standards used today, positioning Zoom as an industry leader with regards to encryption security for open and interoperable video communications at scale,” he said.

Bringing people together

Sometimes it’s still hard to believe how Zoom has become ubiquitous in the new normal. Office meetings. Webinars. Press briefings. Online classes. Reunions. Prayer meetings. Virtual drinking sessions. These are just some of the ways people have embraced Zoom.

Why has Zoom become mainstream, compared to other video communications platforms?

“Zoom’s ease of use and ability to handle significant increased demand without service disruption have made it the platform of choice for millions of users around the world as they work to stay connected and operational during this unprecedented global health crisis,” Smith said.

The appeal of Zoom has become almost universal, from end-users to enterprises.

“Additionally, major financial institutions around the globe are continuing to use Zoom to keep their trading operations running and to continue their important work with their clients and colleagues on a daily basis. They are playing a crucial role in the continued functioning of the global economy. We are proud to be helping these customers maintain business continuity in this challenging and unprecedented time,” he said.

Protecting users

Boosting security is just one side of the coin. The other is human behavior. Whenever platforms become popular, hackers, scammers, and other unsavory parties seek to take advantage. For instance, The Verge reports that hackers are impersonating Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet for phishing scams.

Smith reminded users to be careful when receiving email.

“Zoom users should be cautious with emails or links from unknown senders, taking care to only click on authentic links or open attachments from known and trusted service providers. In addition, Zoom users should only download Zoom through our legitimate distribution channels, including our website, the Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store.

“Zoom users should also be aware that links to our platform will only ever have a or domain name. Prior to clicking on a link, they should carefully review the URL, being mindful of lookalike domain names and spelling errors,” he said.

With people embracing remote work, will this become the new normal in the post-pandemic world?

“We have always believed, since the founding of Zoom in 2011, that the future is video communication. This crisis has shown companies that working from home is not only feasible, but productive. We think we will see companies be more lenient, or embrace the work from home model post COVID-19 using virtual meeting platforms like ours,” he said.

Welcome to the new normal. See you on Zoom!