Many may have decided to drop Zoom as a chosen video conferencing platform after reports of security issues. The redeeming feature? The company has actively been working to bolster security for both free and paid accounts, and it’s finally rolling out end-to-end encryption preview with a few limitations.
The new security feature will roll out next week (ie mid-end October). It’s important to note that Zoom wasn’t completely unencrypted before this, featuring AES 256-bit GCM encryption in calls, chat and video. But these encryption keys were generated right there on Zoom‘s servers. Which meant that hackers could easily target them and listen in on calls.
Here’s a crash course in encryption: if it’s end-to-end encrypted, these keys aren’t generated on the platform’s servers, they’re generated by a person, and only that user has access to these keys.
Just Zoom-ing around the issue
Once this new security tool rolls out, users will need to turn it on manually. That’s right — end-to-end encryption won’t be turned on by default.
Once in the Zoom app, the user will need to enable it at the account, group, or user level. And that’s not all — before each meeting, every person present will need to explicitly turn it on for that specific meeting. Seems like a lot of… admin just to have a secure conversation, right?
If the feature is active, you’ll see a green shield on the top-left corner of your meeting screen. This will indicate that the meeting is protected by end-to-end encryption. There’s even an additional step if you’re a free user — you’ll have to authenticate yourself using 2FA (two-factor authentication).
For some reason it gets even more complicated than that — if you’ve decided to enable end-to-end encryption for a meeting, you won’t be able to join before the host, record to the cloud, stream it, use live transcription, use breakout rooms, polling and private chats. Honestly, do the pros outweigh the cons yet?
Also — your meetings will be limited to 200, even though Zoom can normally cater for up to 1,000.
At this point, we’ll give Zoom the benefit of the doubt in that this is a beta ‘test’ phase for the feature. It’s just mind-boggling that you lose almost all of the additional features if you want to join a secure meeting.
Source: Zoom Blog