Is Zoom Secure – Virtual Meetings During COVID-19
April 6, 2020 by Scott Addison
Is Zoom Giving You the 6 Ft. You Need?
Social Distancing Day 24. Zoom call 56. And that is light compared to many. Is Zoom a secure way to conduct business during COVID-19? Now the news reports that my Zoom meetings might get hacked or recorded meetings may get stolen. It has also been reported that Zoom has installed a web server on my computer. This allows potential hackers to access my camera and microphone without my knowledge.
Should I Dump Zoom?
After blowing up as the No. 1 virtual meeting platform, Zoom has gotten itself into hot water in the press. Zoom’s default settings are very user friendly in an effort to ease user-experience. However, these defaults have the user open to security vulnerabilities, leaving some in the tech world recommending you dump zoom.
While the Zoom CEO has apologized for the security issues, many people, including technical experts, are pondering the question “to dump or not to dump Zoom.”
Their responses are all over the board, from the conspiracy theorists to the Dude (“Whatever, man.”). Like so many things in life, the answer is basically in the middle. Fear not, many tech experts agree you do not need to dump the Zoom platform, as long as you implement some basic security practices.
- Keep your Zoom application up to date,
- keep your operating system up to date,
- always use unique meeting numbers,
- always use a password,
- never store recorded meetings on an unsecured third-party platform,
- immediately change the name of any recorded meeting,
- prohibit meeting participants from sharing their screens, and
- always keep the participant list visible so that you can mute people, boot people, or see if anyone is recording (if you have allowed them to do so).
- For those who want an even higher level of control when hosting meetings, turn on the waiting room feature and mute participants on entry.
Read the Room
Think about the meeting you are hosting. Is it a social gathering? Is it a team conference? Is it a client meeting, a deposition, or a situation where extra security is necessary? Do you need the waiting room or breakout rooms? For example, if you and two of your colleagues are using Zoom to conduct an interview, it may make sense to turn on the Zoom waiting room. Let your colleagues in first to go over a few points then let the interviewee into the room. If, however, you are virtually meeting up with friends for happy hour, you can be more relaxed on the settings.
Zoom has a host of settings that can be adjusted for purposes of user experience as well as security. If you are going to host a meeting, take a minute to familiarize yourself with the setting and tailor them appropriately.
Is Zoom too big to fail?
Like any platform that very quickly gains a huge market share (e.g., Facebook, Microsoft), there is going to be a large-scale effort by hackers to explore and exploit vulnerabilities, cause chaos, or obtain some sort of monetary advantage. Companies like Zoom have been able to operate without such a large-scale attack, and so the vulnerabilities were not always apparent, or, more specifically, were not of widespread public interest.
In the current situation Zoom’s presence increased exponentially and those vulnerabilities were identified in a very public and sensational way. The vulnerabilities are real, but many of them were and are created by the user, albeit permitted by the platform. In some instances, the platform itself has overlooked vulnerabilities.
The bottom line is that Zoom got too big, too fast and subjected itself to massive attacks and probes. It should have done a better job early on in testing and fixing vulnerabilities, but it is now playing catchup. It still remains a reliable and fairly secure platform that many find to be superior in usability and feature-sets. They are clearly beefing up their efforts to identify and fix any security flaws. They certainly have the cash flow at this point to do so.
Now, on to Zoom meeting 57.
Learn more about this topic by reading Part 2: 5 Ways To Avoid Doom With Zoom