As the deadly Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt conventional methods of personal interaction, millions are flocking to video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. The relatively young company is witnessing record number of users within days.
Zoom provides users with remote video conferencing services that have become the go to solution for millions of people across the globe. Using Zoom, people are trying to develop a coping mechanism for prolonged work from home scenarios.
While this platform was largely used for informal events such as birthdays or other social events, Zoom has transformed into a much formalized technology platform that is now being used by businesses and even governments amid massive lockdowns.
The biggest selling point for Zoom is the level of functionality and features it is offering upfront in its free version. For instance, the app allows up to 100 participants in its free version, which is quite a big figure, even by business entity standards.
However, the recent surge in Zoom users and its stock price alike have also propelled the tech company to increasing amount of scrutiny by tech analysts, cyber security experts and even law enforcement agencies (LEA).
One of the major concerns that has been voiced pertain to user privacy and data security. Experts are raising serious concerns whether the virtual private meetings are actually “private” in true spirit of the word, or is there some underlying malpractice.
The other concern revolves around data encryption practices in vogue at Zoom. While the company itself remains tight lipped over its encryption practices, most experts believe the platform is falling short of the claimed end to end encryption of all virtual meetings.
If true, this can give rise to serious concerns about the privacy of Zoom’s virtual meetings and what happens with user’s data once it safely reaches the company’s data silos. There have also been some isolated incidents of unwanted actors showing up at meetings.
This prompted the FBI to issue an official warning for Zoom users that rely on the public video call feature. Zoom has attributed such incidents of “uninvited guests” to improper configuration or non implementation of privacy controls.
Zoom recommends users to apply advanced security features to their virtual meetings over the platform such as passwords for meetings. We also need to realize the fact that this surge in the demand for Zoom’s services is the result of an unexpected global pandemic.
While the company tries to cope with this skyrocketing demand, certain gaps in security and privacy have started to show up. Zoom has also been criticized for sharing some data with Facebook for users that login to the app using their Facebook accounts.
Zoom has categorically denied selling user data to any entity though. While a few issues would definitely be as a result of user lapse, the company needs to act quickly to resolve user and regulatory concerns around data security as well as privacy.