Zoom to release security update to tackle Zoombombing, enhance encryption

Zoom to release security update to tackle Zoombombing, enhance encryption
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San Jose, California-based video conferencing platform Zoom will roll out an update, which will include security enhancements, within the week.  

The Zoom 5.0 update is part of the company’s 90-day plan to improve and optimise a host of its features, mostly to address security concerns, according to a statement.

The platform, which saw its global users shoot up from 10 million in December last year to more than 200 million daily participants in March amid the Covid-19 lockdown, has been under fire over security uses. 

Read: What are the chief security concerns with Zoom and have they been fixed?

The company said it will upgrade to the AES 256-BIT GCM encryption standard, which will provide protection against Zoombombing, a term used to describe instances where unknown users join and interrupt Zoom meetings to post lewd messages and hate speech. Additionally, it will ensure increased security to Zoom meetings, video webinars and Zoom data stored on user’s phones, it added.

“We will earn our customers’ trust and deliver them happiness with our unwavering focus on providing the most secure platform,” Eric S Yuan, CEO of Zoom, said.

Amid allegations that Zoom calls were being routed through Chinese servers, the platform, post the update, will allow controlled data routing by admins, who can choose which data centre regions can host their online webinars, it said. 

Users will be able to access all its security features through an icon on every webinar’s main page -- they were previously available under its ‘meeting’ menu, it said. Using the security icon, a host can block a user from a webinar and report him/her to Zoom, it said. If reported, users could face legal action for breach of privacy, it added.  The platform will also allow admins to decide whether participants can rename themselves or not, it added.

Read: India records highest Zoom installs in Q1 2020: Sensor Tower

The waiting room feature, which allows hosts to admit users to a webinar individually, will be a default feature, it said. Additionally, meeting passwords will be mandatory and users will require passwords to access cloud recordings of previous meetings as well.

As an added feature on the Zoom Dashboard, admins on business, enterprises and education plans can connect to Zoom data centres, it said. Users can also choose to hide Zoom chat notifications, it added.