What once seemed like a great vessel for video conferencing, is now a huge security threat to online schooling, virtual business meetings and everyday conversations alike.
COVID-19 Communication Issues
Ever since the breakout and now world wide infection of COVID-19, universities, businesses and cities are all shutting down. In hopes to contain the spread of the virus, governments across the world are implementing stay home and no travel orders.
This situation has led to issues with communications in regards to meetings, teaching students and all around in person communication. So, in an effort to continue face to face conversation, many businesses and schools turned to online video conferencing platform, Zoom.
What is Zoom?
Before we dive into all the security issues and stories related to Zoom, let’s take a look at the actual platform.
To begin, “Zoom Video Communications is an American remote conferencing services company headquartered in San Jose, California. It provides a remote conferencing service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration” (Via Wikipedia).
Essentially, it is a video conferencing platform that allows one or many people to participate in conversation online, but in a remote setting like their home.
All in all, it is a simple and straightforward concept. In theory, it presents a great alternative to face to face conversation, and is a useful tool for remote communication.
Now that we have a grasp on the basics of Zoom, let’s take a look at the many security issues the platform presents, and why so many organizations, governments and schools are banning the use of the service.
Security Issues in Zoom
To begin, the overall security concerns regarding Zoom stem from the initial flood of hundreds of thousands of new users due to COVID-19. The pandemic forced many businesses to have employees work from home, as well as students learn outside of the classroom.
Platforms like Zoom became the new solution. But, little did the platform know the security issues and scrutiny that would arise.
One of the main points of scrutiny for the platform is webcam access. This presents a major problem due to the fact that the platform is a video conferencing service.
All of the attention on security concerns started when a government official from New York sent a letter to Zoom addressing security concerns due to new levels of traffic that the platform is receiving.
From there, security researchers took to investigate the platform as well. The researchers uncovered several bugs that would allow hackers to take over the control of user cameras and microphones – specifically on Macs.
Further, this issue brought up the Zoom webcam security issues from the previous year, which currently gives users second thoughts. Government officials, schools and businesses are banning the use of Zoom due to the security concerns it presents.
Hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities to jump into video calls and interrupt with various explicit images and videos. Need I say more?
Is there a solution?
Now, governments officials, businesses and schools are turning to other platforms such as Microsoft Teams in hopes of more secure communications. After all, cyber security needs to remain a priority during this time.
Continuing, hackers are taking advantage of confusion and panic online with scams, hacking endeavors and other forms of attack. So, if that means switching video conferencing platforms, so be it.
In short, Zoom is not ignoring the security concerns presented above. They stated that they are working on security fixes for the platform. I think it is safe to say the amount of traffic they are currently supporting was not quite predicted.
All in all, I will leave you with the advice that I always give in these types of situations. Use strong passwords, exercise caution online and stay safe and healthy in these crazy times.
By Taylor Ritchey