The remote conferencing service Zoom, is making it easier for users to access security features. The company has been under fire as the list of privacy concerns has become more obvious as people flocked to the service in response to the pandemic. The need to work from home and to spend virtual time with friends and family caused the surge that has highlighted security issues, specifically “Zoombombing,” which the company is now working hard to address.
New Security Icon
In a public response to the problem, this Wednesday Zoom announced, “We recognize that various security settings in the Zoom client, while extremely useful, were also extremely scattered… The addition of [a] persistent Security icon helps augment some of the default Zoom security features in your profile settings and enables Zoom users to more quickly take action to prevent meeting disruption.”
“Zoombombing” refers to meeting disruptions, wherein a hacker will enter a random Zoom call and post spam or inappropriate material. Given the sensitive nature of many Zoom meetings, including corporate meetings, elementary school classes, and even virtual Alcoholics Anonymous sessions, the issue is especially serious.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson fell victim to Zoombombing after he posted a screenshot of a Zoom meeting, exposing the meeting ID of a confidential government call. Anyone can join the meeting if they have this secret number. One of the new safety features involves hiding the meeting ID number from the title bar.
Adjusting to Huge Surge in Users
Zoom has also announced that Facebook’s former Chief of Security, Alex Stamos, will be working with Zoom to help fix its privacy issues. CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, says that he never thought the company’s service would ever be used so widely. Over the past three months, the number of Zoom users has gone from 10 million to 200 million daily active users. Yuan says, “We were focusing on business enterprise customers…However, we should have thought about ‘What if some end user started using Zoom for nonbusiness’, maybe for family gatherings, for online weddings… The risks, the misuse, we never thought about that.”
Yuan’s response again reveals the naivete of the tech executives on whom so much of our modern society relies. He sounds very much like Mark Zuckerberg, who had no clue about the potential for malevolent use of the Facebook platform until well after it had been compromised. That Yuan hired a former Facebook security person raises concern.