Zoom Continues To Remain Popular Despite Security Backlash

As the pandemic made us sit at home, following the social distancing norms, people are relying on various virtual connections to be with their loved ones and for work purposes. Among the multiple apps such as Viber, Skype, Google hangout–Zoom–took the front seat for providing a better service to its customers.

In this run, undoubtedly the app video conferencing has left behind all its contenders and has recently made the headlines by surpassing 300 million daily Zoom meeting participants, despite having quite a few security issues. The figures show almost a 50 per cent rise from the 200 million the company reported in early April, and a huge jump from the 10 million during December 2019.

In fact, British lawmakers broke a 700-year old tradition in the Houses of Parliament by introducing Zoom-enabled video links.

Zoom Over Competitors

The apps main selling point is that it offers 40-minutes of free conference calls with up to 100 attendees. It’s easily accessible, simple to use, doesn’t require a login id to join a meeting, has a relatively intuitive interface–but all these amenities are provided at the cost of compromising one’s personal information.

Zoom CEO and founder Eric S. Yuan confirmed that the app doesn’t use end-to-end encryption. He also acknowledged the fact that the app had cybersecurity and privacy shortcomings, which they intend to fix immediately.

“Zoombombers” have taken advantage of the situation by randomly joining Zoom calls and broadcasting offensive material like pornography, child abuse, derogatory language, and several other.

Yuan has repeatedly apologized for the same and said that the app would be “enacting a feature freeze, effectively immediately, and shifting all our engineering resources to focus on our biggest trust, safety, and privacy issues.” The app would also be conducting a comprehensive review with external experts and representative users to comprehend and make sure that all the security concerns of customers are addressed.

Modified version

Zoom has been continuously adding security enhancements to the app, over the past month. The latest updated version, Zoom 5.0, is expected to come with a more robust encryption and a feature to enable hosts to report suspicious meeting participants to Zoom’s Trust and Safety Team.

It is advisable for the host to generate a password for the attendees, which would be required to join the meeting. The app provides this feature now, and it would be the easiest way to stop Zoombombing. Another effective way to deal with this is to join a meeting through one’s web browser instead of installing the desktop software. It is not necessary to have the software to join a Zoom meeting

App at top

Despite the security concerns, the app does not pose much of a threat for conducting school classes, family get-togethers, or even job-related meetings that stick to routine business. If the ones holding a Zoom meeting are not discussing grave issues, including state or corporate secrets or personal health or financial information, then they are not running into a high risk. This is another factor why the app still remains much coveted among the common masses. Zoom currently falls in the top 20 trending apps in India–Rank 4–according to SimilarWeb a mobile app ranking website.

It is yet to see whether the will manage to solve the faults effectively and live up to its promises.

Aishani Sarkar

An ardent literature lover with my mind constantly travelling through far-off unexplored worlds. A lover of languages and cultures--the sweetest language in the world being my mother-tongue. Chasing the Northern Lights...taking one step closer. My pen is my sword. #BongAtHeart

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