ZOOM is one of the few global companies that saw a significant increase in their sales in the current pandemic year of 2020. As more people shifted to the work-from-home style, ZOOM and other communication apps became more popular. ZOOM claimed their daily active user average crossed 300 million on a peak day.
ZOOM was introduced to corporate clients for their video communication needs back in 2011. Since then it has been criticized for privacy and security vulnerabilities several times. Many of the global brands and Governments have formally instructed users to maintain data protection and privacy measure while using ZOOM.
Although ZOOM has continuously introduced newer security and privacy controls, it still faces some criticism. For example, the company had to permanently remove the LinkedIn navigator that could use the ZOOM user’s important information such as employer name, location, and job title, etc.
Some of the risks while using ZOOM can be categorized on Security and Privacy concerns basis.
1) Lack of Full Data Encryption with ZOOM
ZOOM has finally introduced the much-awaited end-to-end data encryption for its paid users. The company also announced that it will roll out the feature for all of its users globally for both paid and free users. However, the shortcoming with the feature is, it comes as an optional feature. If you opt for it, you lose certain in-Meeting and in-video call features like dial-in, or cloud recording.
ZOOM clarified the fact that its meetings functions weren’t fully capable of end-to-end encryption.
One concern for all ZOOM users remains though, its meeting has an encryption feature if all of the participants use the ZOOM clients. However, most of the ZOOM competitors like Google and Microsoft also do not offer full end-to-end encryption with their video communication apps too.
ZOOM has launched newer host and co-host control features that enable them to control the meeting participants. However, still, for many companies, it remains a concern needing to conduct social and public meetings.
Even participants with authorized links accessing the meetings need to share their personal contact information such as email addresses. The contact information remains visible to all the participants during the meeting that poses a privacy concern for many users.
In the last few months, ZOOM has announced several new features that limit unauthorized access to meetings and webinars. ZOOM has enhanced the webinars and meeting hosts’ controlling abilities with a passcode and limited access feature. Also during the meeting or webinars hosts can now dispel the disruptive participants.
3) Bugs and Malware Threats with ZOOM
Security researchers continuously research bugs and hacking vulnerabilities of tech platforms like ZOOM. Recent such research exposed ZOOM with such bugs that could let the hackers and spammers penetrate the ZOOM user’s webcam and mic access. The other bug exposed ZOOM users on MAC with malware to get suspicious access to Mac operating system.
Broadly speaking all online and social media platforms have been vulnerable to such malicious attacks. Much like any other tech firm, ZOOM has also announced a “fix” to these bugs. ZOOM has been criticized for such lapses in their firewall and coding techniques several times though.
4) User DATA Sharing Concerns With ZOOM
Many other social media and communication platforms have come under fire for users’ data-sharing concerns. ZOOM has been criticized for sharing users’ data with unauthorized access and without explicitly providing information on the issue. One such criticism remained about data routing through Chinese servers even when both ZOOM users had physical locations outside of China.
Another data concern was ZOOM’s use of SDK for Facebook. Facebook had access to ZOOM users’ data such as their device model, location, and operating system without their consent. ZOOM has removed the Facebook SDK from their IOS app.
5) User Privacy Concerns With ZOOM
Users’ personal and contact information sharing concerns are not only limited to ZOOM only. Many leading social media and communication platforms like Facebook have been under criticism for such privacy issues.
The concerns with ZOOM sharing its users’ personal information with Advertisers like Google and Facebook have been raised several times. Although ZOOM provides a comprehensive privacy and security policy, it does not explicitly refutes the claims against data sharing with advertisers.
Privacy and security concerns with ZOOM applications increased with increased demand for its products recently. The company still lacks certain privacy features but has announced several features protecting its user’s privacy and security.