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Zoom hopes new version will calm security fears

Video conferencing platform Zoom has rushed out a bunch of new security features in response to serious concerns raised following the massive increase in its use.

Zoom 5.0 is all about security and is part of a previously-announced 90-day plan to sort that side of things out. Earlier this month things were looking dire for the company as even politicians were calling for an investigation into its many security and privacy flaws. At lack of any further major scandals in the meantime enabled it to weather that storm in the short term, but security was clearly an issue that needed a permanent fix.

The most significant single tweak is the addition of support for AES 256-bit GCM encryption, which should do a lot to prevent the hacking into calls and leakage of user information that has been extensively reported. Other than that, the various security tools at a user’s disposal have been aggregated into a single, prominent icon on the user interface, and certain bits of security best-practice have been made default settings.

“I am proud to reach this step in our 90-day plan, but this is just the beginning,” said Eric S. Yuan, CEO of Zoom. “We built our business by delivering happiness to our customers. We will earn our customers’ trust and deliver them happiness with our unwavering focus on providing the most secure platform.”

“We take a holistic view of our users’ privacy and our platform’s security,” said Oded Gal, CPO of Zoom. “From our network to our feature set to our user experience, everything is being put through rigorous scrutiny. On the back end, AES 256-bit GCM encryption will raise the bar for securing our users’ data in transit. On the front end, I’m most excited about the Security icon in the meeting menu bar. This takes our security features, existing and new, and puts them front and center for our meeting hosts. With millions of new users, this will make sure they have instant access to important security controls in their meetings.”

It remains to be seen whether this update will be enough to satisfy users scared off by previous reports and experiences. Bloomberg reports that a bunch of big organizations, including Ericsson, have warned against using the services or have even banned use of it entirely. Even the whole country of India seems hostile to Zoom, so the rest of this 90-day plan had better be convincing.

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