Work-from-home is the reality for so many of us during the coronavirus pandemic. Being out of the office has its challenges: interrupting kids, spotty internet, and endless miscommunications! However, online meetings have become the symbol of this new working environment, especially the virtual meeting app ‘Zoom’. Part of the app’s popularity was its security. Zoom increased its revenue over 300% during the pandemic, due in part to its security guarantees. That all changed when investigators discovered that the company had not been completely honest about their security protocols.
Zoom had always represented itself as having end-to-end encryption. This meant that no-one except meeting participants could access non-encrypted data on the meeting. It claimed to provide that encryption long as everyone accessed the call using their computers. Instead, users only had access to TLS, transport layer security. This meant that Zoom had access to unencrypted meeting data. The outrage prompted Zoom to release an updated version of their security that included true end-to-end encryption. So now that Zoom’s improved security has been released to the public, is it worth returning to the platform?
The good news is that now Zoom does seem to have full end-to-end encryption. The updated security option is available for everyone, a change from their initial plan to only offer it to paid users. This makes Zoom one of only a few videoconferencing platforms to offer the service. However, the option does still have its drawbacks. For free users, the feature requires two-factor authentication to enable. Each user has enable the feature, meaning a meeting host cannot enforce the feature. The option is only available in meetings with under 200 members, an 80% reduction in capacity.
In the end, Zoom’s updated security policy makes it a great option for smaller, secure meetings. Individuals and small business owners will love the combination of convenience and security that the free option provides without being inconvenienced by the member limit. However, the removal of features and need for manual authentication from every member makes Zoom’s end-to-end encryption impractical for most large meetings. Cybersecurity has only become more important in the past few months, so making sure your meetings are safe is crucial. If you need help making sure that everything is protected, you can email us here or call us at (703) 790-0400.