Privacy concerns grow with Zoom’s ballooning popularity during COVID-19 pandemic

News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Video conferencing has become a new norm as people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Zoom’s usage has ballooned from about 10 million users to hundreds of millions because of the need for people to isolate.

People with other agendas are among those new Zoom users. “Zoom bombing” refers to unauthorized people interrupting a meeting or a personal conversation.

Zoom is a powerful tool for teleconferencing. Users don’t want uninvited people interrupting them — or worse, spying on them for nefarious reasons.

“Their software doesn’t help new users’ enable privacy by default,” said Terrence McGraw, President of PC Matic Federal. He is a retired lieutenant colonel who spent a lot of his career in cybersecurity.

McGraw said Zoom has a couple of problems including a lack of end-to-end encryption of the data stream.

“Encryption end-to-end means the video stream itself can’t be siphoned off and looked at,” he said.

“Zoom bombing” is the other issue.

“In Zoom bombing, it’s privacy settings not configured correctly,” McGraw said.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan told CBS News his company made mistakes and needs to correct them.

“I think that’s why I say we do not do a good job,” Yuan said.”When we offer the free service, we should have a training session. We should enable a password.”

Zoom has a waiting room option that allows people to vet who comes into the conference. It is also recommended that links to meetings aren’t shared to a wide audience for strangers to click on. McGraw believes those safeguards should be enough for the average user.

“If you’re in the classroom environment, end-to-end encryption is not necessary. You have to have control who can access the mic and video presentations,” he said.

McGraw recommends alternative products for more sensitive matters.

“There’s Microsoft Teams, Apple Facetime, or Signal.”

Be sure to spend time learning new teleconferencing software — especially its privacy settings — before putting it to use.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Stay up to date with the latest news by downloading the BRProud App from the App Store or Google Play.

Trending Stories