Video conferencing and meeting platform, Zoom, has apologised for incorrectly suggesting that its platform guarantees end-to-end encryption of communication. This comes after several backlash and investigations into the security of its platform following a surge in downloads and adoption.
According to Zoom, it only suggested it could guarantee end-to-end encryption because as a communication channel for organisations, it always strives to protect content using encryption in as many scenarios as possible. It is in light of that painstakingness that it described its encryption as end-to-end.
In light of recent interest in our encryption practices, we want to start by apologizing for the confusion we have caused by incorrectly suggesting that Zoom meetings were capable of using end-to-end encryptionZoom
“While we never intended to deceive any of our customers, we recognize that there is a discrepancy between the commonly accepted definition of end-to-end encryption and how we were using it,” Zoom said in a blog post.
The company went on to clarify how its encryption works, explaining that in a meeting which is not being recorded, it encrypts all video, audio, screen sharing, and chat content from the point the sending. It claims it does not decrypt it at any point before it reaches the receiving clients.
Mounting backlash due to security concerns
We reported recently that Zoom finally discovered and blocked codes in its ios app which were sending users location and device specs to Facebook through Facebook login feature. A class-action lawsuit against the company is already underway as a result of that breach.
Over the weekend, the video conferencing platform was reportedly forced to update its privacy terms because of a report which showed that the old terms gave Zoom the power to obtain user information and meeting contents, analyze them and use them for targeted advertising.
These security lapses are emerging because more and more researchers are beginning to test the platform’s sturdiness as its adoption continues to spike due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Security researcher for macOS, Patrick Wardle is one such researcher. Following the report of his own findings, the security expert proclaimed that Zoom wasn’t developed with security in mind.
“Zoom, while great from a usability point of view, clearly hasn’t been designed with security in mind,” Patrick Wardle says. “Zoom has just had so many missteps, and that’s very indicative of a product that has not been adequately audited from a security point of view.”
With more and more security experts tearing the app apart in search of lapses, Zoom could find itself giving more apologies and doing more explanations in the future.
Downloads continue to surge despite security concerns
With more than a third of the world’s population currently in isolation, working from home has become the surest strategy for businesses and organisations. This has led to a spike in download of video conferencing apps.
Zoom is leading the line in this new surge because of its ease of use. It allows for up to 100 people in a conference while boasting other cool features like a waiting room and the option of having up to 500 people per meeting.
The company thus tries to assure its users that their security is at the heart of its business as it aims at providing the maximum amount of privacy throughout transmissions.
Our goal is to keep data encrypted throughout as much of the transmission process as possible. The goal of our encryption design is to provide the maximum amount of privacy possible while supporting the diverse needs of our client base.
According to reports, more than 10 million people join a Zoom conference every day. That figure isn’t about to wane anytime soon because of some security and privacy concerns. In the end, on a regular scale of preference, most users will choose to sacrifice security on the altar of necessity.
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