Accidentally leaking data to Facebook and letting hackers take over your camera and computer are two good reasons.
So why does everybody still love Zoom? It is still the world’s best video conference system!! It has a super simple UI, a robust video experience, and their CEO Eric Yuan is a rockstar!
Then why did Elon Musk ban Zoom, and why are so many healthcare systems are leaving Zoom this week? While it is a great meeting and webinars tool for any industry – at its heart Zoom is not a healthcare company. Personal Health Information (PHI) privacy and designing healthcare workflows is probably not exactly at the top of its agenda.
List of Zoom’s Recent Privacy & Security Woes
That aside, researchers and users have recently turned up an endless string of security and privacy issues:
Last year, Zoom had a security flaw that allowed potential hackers to hijack Mac cameras.
Last week’s news exposed several of the latest Zoom security flaws including vulnerabilities that allow
- Windows passwords to be stolen
- Mac cameras and microphones to be taken over such that they can arbitrarily record voice and video
- Mac computers to be infected with malicious malware at the deepest levels without being noticed
Other recent issues include a rash of “Zoombombing” incidents. Because Zoom meeting ID’s are fairly easy to hack and most users don’t password their meetings, hackers are able to “Zoombomb” or crash meetings and broadcast sexually offensive or vulgar content.
Zoom’s questionable privacy policies have also come to light recently. An investigation found that its iOS app was sending consumer information to Facebook, and its users were vulnerable to ad targeting. A separate problem with the way the Zoom application groups users’ contacts has also lead to user information leaks. Zoom community managers had been retweeting videos and screenshots featuring young students to the broader community–without realizing there might be student privacy concerns.
It also turns out that Zoom’s claim to “end-to-end video encryption” is completely false. A Zoom spokesperson said in a recent statement, “Currently, it is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings.”
Zoom has also been cited for generating encryption keys (“chunks of data that can unlock conversations”) in China. This means it may be legally obligated to turn over these encryption keys to the Chinese government, bringing up the question of whether governments ought to be using Zoom.
These concerns over Zoom’s security has meant that some organizations are discouraging the use of Zoom or like many schools and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, have simply banned its use for communications.