Zoom takes a giant leap into making the video-conferencing service more secure

Worried about Zoom's privacy issues? Well the comany seems to be taking steps to attend to those issues as fast as possible

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In the pre-coronavirus era (yes that’s how it will be referred now on), not everyone knew what Zoom was. A few people had heard of it or used it if it came up professionally. Thanks to the world of the coronavirus and quarantining, Zoom’s daily active users went up (as of April 2nd 2020) from 10 million to 200 million as per the company CEO Eric Yuan. Now that number is at 300 million!

One of the biggest reasons for this jump was the ease of use and accessibility (at least here in the UAE). But along with the rise came a boat-load questions about the safety and security of the service. If you’d like a low-down of everything happening with the company’s security issues, please click here.

But last month, on a live stream on Youtube, the company CEO Eric Yuan did state that the company has a lot of work to do, said they have a 90-day plan and will fix any issues that they come forward. In this process came today’s announcement of the acquisition of Keybase.

Zoom Keybase

On their blog, the company stated, “We are proud to announce the acquisition of Keybase, another milestone in Zoom’s 90-day plan to further strengthen the security of our video communications platform. Since its launch in 2014, Keybase’s team of exceptional engineers has built a secure messaging and file-sharing service leveraging their deep encryption and security expertise. We are excited to integrate Keybase’s team into the Zoom family to help us build end-to-end encryption that can reach current Zoom scalability. 

This acquisition marks a key step for Zoom as we attempt to accomplish the creation of a truly private video communications platform that can scale to hundreds of millions of participants, while also having the flexibility to support Zoom’s wide variety of uses. Our goal is to provide the most privacy possible for every use case, while also balancing the needs of our users and our commitment to preventing harmful behavior on our platform. Keybase’s experienced team will be a critical part of this mission.”

Where does Zoom’s Encryption stand today?

In the current scenario, the calls, conferences, webinars or meetings that you attend on Zoom are not end-to-end encrypted.

“Today, audio and video content flowing between Zoom clients (e.g., Zoom Rooms, laptop computers, and smartphones running the Zoom app) is encrypted at each sending client device.  It is not decrypted until it reaches the recipients’ devices. With the recent Zoom 5.0 release, Zoom clients now support encrypting content using industry-standard AES-GCM with 256-bit keys. However, the encryption keys for each meeting are generated by Zoom’s servers.”

Zoom keybase

So what can we expect in the near future?

  • Paid users will have access to ‘end-to-end encrypted meeting mode’
  • Enterprise users will be able to have higher levels of authentication.
  • Encryption keys will be tightly controlled by the host, who will admit attendees.
  • Encryption keys will be tightly controlled by the host, who will admit attendees.

We believe this will provide equivalent or better security than existing consumer end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms, but with the video quality and scale that has made Zoom the choice of over 300 million daily meeting participants, including those at some of the world’s largest enterprises.”

Next Steps

On their blog, Zoom Video Communications Inc also mentioned, “We are committed to remaining transparent and open as we build our end-to-end encryption offering. We plan to publish a detailed draft cryptographic design on Friday, May 22. We will then host discussion sections with civil society, cryptographic experts, and customers to share more details and solicit feedback. Once we have assessed this feedback for integration into a final design, we will announce our engineering milestones and goals for deploying to Zoom users.”

Are you currently a Zoom user? Do the privacy concerns bother you? Let us know in the comments below.