Zoom: online meetings and privacy
The one factor that has been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic is the widespread use of the internet for most major and minor affairs. Everyone who still wants to work, school or conference despite difficult lock-down conditions now relies on social media and video-conferencing platforms for meetings, classes and even social gatherings.
Zoom is one of the platforms that has taken off sporadically in the past months. Perks such as its Free usage, Easy setup and use and its ability to accommodate over a hundred people have made it the go-to app for schools and businesses all over the world.
The emerging Cons of Zoom
Many dedicated Tech Journalists and security researchers have helped to identify these existing flaws and issues on Zoom.
On the first of April, Zoom CEO and founder Eric S. Yuan wrote a blog post acknowledging Zoom’s weaknesses and pledged that the company would work tirelessly to fix all security and privacy issues. Eric has since taken to using his blog to point out which problems have been fixed.
Until the end of March, Zoom was unable to make a distinction between regular web addresses and a different kind of remote networking link called a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path, which had left Zoom chats vulnerable to attack from outside sources, although Yuan’s blog post claims that this issue has already been fixed.
As a reaction to the discovery earlier in April that many zoom meetings hosted by the United State residents have been routed through servers based in China; a country that retains the right to see anything happening on a domestically located server without a warrant, Zoom announced that users of its paid accounts would be allowed to choose through which region of the world their data would be routed to while users of its free service will have their data handled only by servers in their regions.
It was reported by the New York Times that Dropbox executives in 2018 created its secret bug-bounty program for Zoom flaws. Dropbox who at that time was an investor in Zoom was so concerned with security flaws that they paid Hackers to discover security vulnerabilities so that they could get fixed.
Yuan although excuses the reason for most of the discrepancies with Zoom; as it was initially developed for large businesses with in-house IT staffers who could set up and run the software.
It is safe to presume that zoom might soon be the most secure conferencing tool out there once it can resolve all discovered flaws and eventually get them fixed.
Despite its privacy woes, Zoom is great for use in school classes, work events, workplace meetings that stick to routine business and the likes.
The use of Zoom by Government organizations, Businesses concerned with cyber-crime/industrial espionage, Health-care providers handling sensitive patient information, Activists, Lawyers and Journalists have been strongly discouraged because of yet unresolved issues with its end-to-end encryption, which turned out to be weaker than expected, a field-day for hackers.