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Zoom rolls out new security measures

April 17, 2020

Video-conferencing platform Zoom issued an apology over privacy and security issues, as it prepared to introduce new safety measures to address concerns raised by many governments around the world.

Coronavirus: Digital Internet Chat
Image: Reuters/A. Gea

Popular video-conferencing platform Zoom has apologized for issues with the security of its online service and announced a number of new measures to make the platform more secure for its users. This comes at a time when multiple countries and organizations are banning its use.

Issues such as data hacking, routing information through China and "Zoombombing" — where individuals can crash sessions — are high on the organization's radar, according to Zoom chief executive Eric Yuan, who announced a number of steps being taken to combat these problems.  

Read moreSecurity lapses plague messaging and video apps

Beginning on Saturday, the company will give paid account users the option to select the region their data is routed through. This move is aimed at concerns that sending information through China could lead to an infringement of privacy. 

"As a reminder, meeting servers in China have always been geofenced with the goal of ensuring that meeting data of users outside of China, stays outside of China," the company said in a post.

An adult having a video conference with birthday party decoration hanging in the room
Video conference birthday parties have become common as coronavirus lockdowns continueImage: Reuters/L. Kuegeler

Boom in work-from-home videoconferencing

Zoom is also working with security start-up Luta Security to look into the company's processes and a "bug bounty" program that was established to find flaws in its operations.

The use of the platform's videoconferencing tools has exploded around the world after many countries implemented lockdowns to control the spread of the new coronavirus. Many educational institutions and businesses began using Zoom to conduct online classes and meetings. 

The Indian government on Thursday declared that Zoom was "not a safe platform," banning it for government use in a new advisory. Taiwan and Germany have also taken similar steps to discourage its use.

In the United States, prosecutors are investigating Zoom's security practices, while the FBI has issued a warning about hijacked sessions. Google has banned the use of the platform's desktop versions from company laptops.

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see/sms (AFP, Reuters)