- Zoom has become one of the most popular video conferencing services in the world as the coronavirus pandemic forces us to find new ways to communicate with one another.
- Zoom is also riddled with security and privacy vulnerabilities, which is why Google has decided to bar its employees from using the software on their work computers.
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One of the more interesting stories to arise from the novel coronavirus outbreak has been the ascent of Zoom. The once-niche video conferencing software has suddenly become the go-to solution for millions of people all around the world that want to keep in touch with their friends, their family, and even their coworkers. Free users were even willing to put up with the 40-minute time limit, but as researchers dug into the software, it became increasingly clear that the Zoom video calling service was a breeding ground for privacy issues and safety concerns.
First came “zoombombing,” which is when uninvited guests burst into your meeting unannounced. That was just the tip of the iceberg, as we later discovered that email addresses and profile pictures were being leaked, the service’s encryption was subpar, and thousands of private Zoom videos could be found online.
With all of that in mind, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Google doesn’t want its employees to use Zoom on company devices. According to BuzzFeed News, Google employees with the Zoom app installed on their work laptop received an email last week letting them know that Zoom would no longer be accessible on those devices due to the “security vulnerabilities” that the software could introduce to the company.
“We have long had a policy of not allowing employees to use unapproved apps for work that are outside of our corporate network,” Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesperson, said to BuzzFeed News. “Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees. Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile.”
Zoom had been the video conferencing service of choice for many offices long before the viral pandemic, but it cannot be overstated how rapidly the service’s usage exploded in the last two months. Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan revealed in a blog post last week that the highest daily active user count the service had ever seen through 2019 was 10 million. In March 2020, Zoom hit 200 million active users in a single day. You can probably see why Yuan was included on the 34th annual world’s billionaire list from Forbes this year, and was featured in his own cover story.
In that same blog post, Yuan also said that Zoom is taking steps to address the laundry list of issues that have been uncovered by researchers and reporters in recent weeks. Some of those fixes have already rolled out, but Zoom has a long way to go if it expects to regain the trust of everyone who has been reading these troubling reports.