Is Zoom private and secure? If you've been invited to work from home, chances are you have been asked to join a Zoom meeting at some point or other. But has anyone stopped to think about just how private and secure Zoom actually is? Are you going to find your excruciating team-building exercises inadvertently posted on YouTube like a Handforth Parish Council meeting? Here's everything you need to know about privacy on Zoom.
Is Zoom Private And Secure?
Back in 2020, Zoom exploded in popularity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside this explosion in use came increased scrutiny from security and privacy experts. And the results were not especially positive. Critical flaws in its security were quickly identified, as well as some unsavoury reports about data being sent to Facebook without users being clearly notified. And we all know what Facebook is like, don't we? There was even a phenomenon known as Zoombombing, in which trolls managed to take over meetings, and perhaps predictably, sending racist messages and pornography to unsuspecting attendees.
In addition, Zoom claimed in Spring 2020 that calls were end-to-end encrypted. But it later transpired that this wasn't entirely accurate, dealing further damage to the company, and leading to an $85 million fine. So far, not good. But a lot has happened in the last 18 months. Has Zoom improved its security in that time?
Does Zoom Use End-to-End Encryption?
Back in October 2020, Zoom announced that they were going to properly implement end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for users. This was part of their efforts to improve security on the platform. In August 2021, Zoom updated its Help Centre to offer guidance on how to implement E2EE.
The summary is that yes, Zoom does now offer E2EE. But it does come with some limitations at the moment. For example, all users would need to join via either the Zoom desktop client, mobile app, or Zoom Rooms. They cannot join via telephone. Likewise, enabling E2EE will disable a number of other Zoom features, such as breakout rooms, live transcription, and others. It also has to be specifically enabled. So while it is available, you have to actively choose to use it, and it will then limit the features you can use. Zoom's intention is to more fully integrate this as time goes on. But just how private and secure is Zoom?
What's Zoom Like Now?
Whether you consider Zoom private and secure enough, depends in large part on what you plan to use it for. The general consensus from the security community is that Zoom is probably secure enough for having social gatherings, and routine business meetings. But anything that requires confidentiality, or might be dealing with particularly sensitive information, we wouldn't recommend Zoom at this time.