UPDATED 20:31 EDT / APRIL 22 2020

SECURITY

Zoom update addresses security issues with enhanced encryption and new features

Zoom Video Communications Inc. today launched an updated version of its videoconference app that addresses some of the security issues that have plagued the company since it surged to the top of app charts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Zoom 5.0 introduces a higher standard of encryption, password-enabled default and a new security hub, among other features. The new version comes after Zoom froze feature development for 90 days April 2 to focus on enhancing security and privacy for users.

At the top of the list is the use of AES 256-bit GCM encryption. The encryption standard, an updated version of the previous AES 256-bit CBC encryption Zoom had been using offers increased meeting protection and resistance against hijacking.

On the network side, Zoom 5.0 introduces controlled data routing allowing an account administrator to choose which data center regions their hosted meeting uses for real-time traffic. This change directly addresses security concerns raised April 5 when it was reported that Zoom calls were being routed through mainland China, complete with encryption keys issued from Chinese servers.

User experience and controls are getting a big upgrade, starting with passwords being set on by default for all Zoom meetings. Administrators gain the ability to define password complexity as an additional security feature. Cloud recordings also have passwords set to on by default for those wishing to access archives aside from the host.

A new security icon appears in Zoom 5.0, making access to security features quicker and easier. Previously security settings were accessed through a meetings menu. Through the security icon, hosts can now report a user to Zoom as well as disable the ability of participants to rename themselves.

Other new features include secure account contact sharing for larger organizations and a dashboard enhancement that allows admins in business and education plan how their meetings connect to Zoom data centers.

“I am proud to reach this step in our 90-day plan, but this is just the beginning,” Zoom Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan said in a statement. “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.”

The update will be rolled out to all users over the next week.

Photo: Zoom

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