Has Zoom got it right on security?

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Updated: Apr 02, 2020 1:28 PM

BARC’s Zoom conference hack exposes vulnerabilities of video-conferencing platform

 Zoom application downloads have increased by 1,270% to 17,190,100 (on both iOS and Android) between February 22 - March 22.Zoom application downloads have increased by 1,270% to 17,190,100 (on both iOS and Android) between February 22 – March 22.

By Dev C

Kaspersky, a few days ago, reported that more people were being scammed by hackers taking advantage of Covid-19 spread. But it is not only the individuals that have to bear the brunt of such mishaps. Zoom, a popular video conferencing app, is now amid a controversy. Television audience measurement body, Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC), second post-Covid-19 viewership insights conference on Zoom was hacked. The hackers took over controls from the host and posted abusive messages.

This is not the first vulnerability Zoom has been exposed to over the last two weeks. The video-conferencing company may be facing unprecedented downloads. Although under a typical scenario this would have been fine, the company’s terms and conditions and privacy policy made no mention of any such sharing agreement – this is the second vulnerability. According to LearningBonds.com, Zoom application downloads have increased by 1,270% to 17,190,100 (on both iOS and Android) between February 22 – March 22. An App Annie report highlights that as of March 31, ZOOM Cloud Meetings ranked number one for overall iPhone app downloads in 95 markets, including India, and claimed the top spot among business apps on iPhones in 141 markets. But it has also become the centre of controversies. Last week it was reported that Zoom was using Facebook’s SDK (read inputs) for iOS users, allowing Facebook access to user data.

Zoom has competitors in the space like Microsoft Teams, with an increasing focus on video during work from home, issue of the security architecture of such apps has cropped up.“Zoom has a desktop application. While using Zoom you can hack into Window’s credentials, as Zoom gets administrative rights, which creates these vulnerabilities,” Pavan Kushwaha, founder and CEO, Kratikal Technologies, an enterprise security start-up, said, adding, “ A better option would be to use Zoom in the browser so that it does not get access system control.”

Firms have been investing in enterprise security—according to research firm Gartner the global cyber security market was valued at $114 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $170 billion by 2022—but pressure on the system has increased as Covid-19 has relegated a large part of the workforce to home. Reliance on third-party apps puts systems in dangers. But developing your own system may not also be a prudent solution. “Apps like Zoom have developed these systems over time and have regular security patches. If companies develop their systems, they will have much more chances of getting hacked,” Kushwaha explained.

Investments in security need to increase. Moreover, third-party apps also need to look at enhancing their architecture, as just providing vanilla group video-calling services won’t cut it anymore. Trust is a fragile thing in today’s world, especially when it comes to security. With the financial system already taking a hit and so does every other part of businesses, companies can’t afford to slip up on technology, as this remains the only contactless basis of establishing contact.

Read Also: How Rooter is going beyond cricket for community building

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