Zoom conversations can be dangerous
The Zoom video conferencing service is getting a lot of criticism lately. Uninvited people barging in on calls, pornographic materials shown in online courses, and many security issues.
The UK Ministry of Defense doesn't allow the use of Zoom because of security fears. A UK cabinet meeting with the Prime Minister held on zoom a week ago was decried as unsafe and unwise for sensitive information.
Data sent to China
And last week Zoom CEO Eric Yuan admitted some calls had been routed through China, and University of Toronto researchers found Zoom's encryption keys were issued via servers in China, even when call participants were outside of China.
China's laws can require decrypted copies of data passing its borders on its networks. This is to monitor and control their own people. But also to glean information to let them infiltrate computer systems, networks and personal accounts of citizens and companies outside their borders. China is a major state-sponsored actor in cyber-crime.
Safe conferencing options
The MOD, Taiwan, and others avoid Zoom entirely. The tried-and-true alternatives with a long-standing record of robust data security include Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams.
If you choose to use Zoom, be particularly careful of sharing any login details, passwords, or personally identifiable information. Sensitive information should not be shared on Zoom. In light of the China data routing incident, assume all information may pass through a monitoring system hostile to your personal and business security.
Further, realise that Zoom isn't unique in having security issues. Nor is past performance a guarantee of future behaviour for tried-and-true alternatives.
All information shared online can potentially be compromised somewhere along its journey. Treat online activities like your bank cards, with the utmost care.
Simon Pitt, Head of Corporate Digital at BBC, provides an in-depth analysis of ongoing Zoom's security failings at https://onezero.medium.com/zoom-is-a-nightmare-so-why-is-everyone-still-using-it-1b05a4efd5cc