Thursday, December 8, 2022

Zoom – privacy concerns amid the success

Zoom

The Zoom application has been around since last year however it has enjoyed huge popularity as the world receded in to lockdown and people began to socialize and conduct meetings online.

Network operators, had much to worry about and were not sure what to expect but Zoom seemed unaffected by this and enjoyed its increasing popularity. It seemed unlikely that anything would knock Zoom of its lockdown perch and the two would forever be synonymous.

And then came the influx of news about Zooms security concerns. They didn’t crash the networks or test the scaling abilities of its own platform but disgruntled shareholders when they were the first to report the lack of encryption measures and their failure to inform shareholders of their shortcomings. 

By the beginning of April, Zoom admitted that its own interpretation of end-to-end encryption was contradictory. Consequently, the inevitable happened and the enterprises share price crashed causing Zoom to be responsible for the significant losses of its shareholders. They also faced other allegations of selling its data to non-other than Facebook.

The most damaging of these concerns were certainly the security issue. Real security incidents and not just vulnerabilities were reported which introduced the term “Zoom Bombing”. The term caught on around the world as hackers were able to access passwords and rock up at video meetings both unannounced and uninvited.

Authorities and states started to react as it was banned by the German foreign ministry, US Senators were instructed not to use it and other countries advocated the use of rivals Microsoft’s Teams or Google’s Hangouts as preferred options.

The effect of this bad PR is that because of this, individual consumers are likely to drop Zoom, in favour of its rivals.

The question remains as to whether Zoom can weather the storm through some emergency PR and rapid improvements to its security.

The main attraction of the application is indeed its simplicity and ease of adoption for users who have never seen it before. Those who are more familiar with video conferencing know that usual tools are extremely fiddley and time is wasted sending out invites and admitting members etc. Usually, someone in a team is unaware that the meeting time had changed, so they’d have to be called on a mobile to inform them to log in. Zoom seemed to have risen above all this and so suffers only at the failures of its security. That said, do all video conferencing applications need to be bulletproof? Should there be a place for services that require little security as the users have no concern about being overheard? We have all probably been in some online meeting, where we were desperate for people to overhear.

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