Video conferencing app Zoom has seen a massive rise in downloads since social distancing actions were imposed across the globe. It is now being used by millions for work and social activities.
But is Zoom a safe option for use for a business?
Zoom has had security flaws in the past, including a vulnerability which allowed an attacker to remove attendees from meetings, spoof messages from users and hijack shared screens.
They've had recent problems as well. On April 2nd 2020 BBC reported that Zoom chief executive had apologised for "falling short" on security issues and promised to address concerns.
How safe is Zoom?
Nearly all online applications and services can be vulnerable to cyberattacks such as phishing. So no matter what application you plan on using you need to ensure you've set-up the correct security settings for it to minimise the vulnerabilities open to hackers.
The open-access nature of Zoom is perhaps why it has become so popular in the current climate for holding online meetings. However, that open nature is also particularly vulnerable to other types of malicious activity.
One such method has become so popular it has been dubbed 'Zoom-bombing' where strangers join conference calls and disrupt them by sharing inappropriate images, shouting abuse and using threating language.
To prevent it from happening, users are urged to make meetings private and protect them with passwords.
Zoom has worked hard to patch previous security vulnerabilities but some experts have continued to question Zoom's attitude to security.
"Zoom has had a chequered history, security-wise, with a number of instances where one has had to question whether it really gets it when it comes to users' privacy and security," said cyber-consultant Graham Cluley.
"Right now, lots of people are using Zoom for the first time and may not be au fait with the safest settings to keep unwanted people out of their chats."
Although some experts prefer to consider if it is even worth cybercriminals time to target Zoom.
“Many controversies now exist around Zoom’s security and privacy, though it is extremely far from dominating the plethora of emerging security risks. Few attackers will ever bother to intercept Zoom communications, even fewer will extract any value from the alleged data sharing with Facebook.” Ilia Kolochonko, founder and CEO of web security firm ImmuniWeb, told The Independent.
How to use zoom safely
As mentioned earlier there will always be risks when using any online application. The security you put in place will help reduce those risks.
To avoid being 'Zoom-bombed' you should avoid sharing the link or the meeting ID to anyone except the meeting attendees. Don't share the link publicly over social media or a website.
To make sure you are using Zoom securely we recommend following these tips:
- Use a strong password - You can set the option of password locking a meeting. Enable that setting and use a strong password.
- Use the waiting room option - Create a “Waiting Room” through which the participants can connect, but only if the call manager confirms the participants one by one or as a group.
- Set screen share to 'host only' - The call manager can set who is able to share their screen during the call. You can set it so only the host can share their screen, to control what is shown during the meeting.
- Control who is allowed to record the meeting - Zoom allows you to record your meetings, and whilst this is useful it does have some privacy and security issues. The call manager can decide which of the participants may record the call through the participant management window and click “Allow Record”.
Other online meeting options to consider
Zoom has experienced a massive uptake since social distancing has been put in place. However, it is not the only option you can use to hold an online meeting.
At Infotech we have been using Microsoft Teams and we recommend its use to our customers. Teams is Microsoft's tool for collaboration and online meetings. This video will give you an introduction to Teams and how it can and by clicking here you can find more information on Microsoft Teams.
Any online application will have security vulnerabilities you need to be aware of. Whilst Zoom does offer some easy to use features, including how simple it is to create a meeting room, you will need to use additional settings to make it more secure.
By using the tips above you can help make Zoom a bit more secure. However, we do recommend that you consider a different online meeting tool for your business. For more information on how Infotech can help you run secure online meetings contact us here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01634 52 52 52.