Zoom gets serious about security, buying Keybase as proof
The video-conferencing platform that is the mainstay for millions working from home during the pandemic, is upping its encryption asap
Bengaluru — Zoom Video Communications will launch consultations on May 22 on the first draft of cryptography it plans to use to offer end-to-end encrypted meetings to all paying subscribers, as it seeks to quash criticism of its platform over security.
The company, which has faced a backlash from users for failing to disclose that its service is not fully encrypted, is planning to develop tools that will give more controls to meeting hosts and allow users to securely join a meeting.
It also said that it has bought Keybase, a secure messaging and file-sharing service, for an undisclosed price as it looks to the encryption engineering expertise to deliver complete encryption for its conferencing platform.
Shares in the company rose another 8% to $161 in morning trading.
After preparing the draft design, Zoom plans to host discussions with cryptographic experts and customers, and integrate feedback into a final design before rolling the feature out to users.
“We are also investigating mechanisms that would allow enterprise users to provide additional levels of authentication,” CEO Eric Yuan wrote in a blog post.
Founded in 2014, Keybase is an encrypted messaging platform where a user can write to any Twitter or Facebook user without knowing someone’s phone number or e-mail address.
Zoom has seen an extraordinary jump in users, now numbering 300-million a day, since the coronavirus crisis forced millions of people and students to work from home.
But concerns about the security of its platform have led companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Sweden’s Ericsson, to ban employees from using the platform.
To address security concerns, Zoom embarked on a 90-day plan, which has included hiring former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos and other well-known industry figures, while launching new versions of its software with better encryption.
Zoom also said it will neither build any cryptographic backdoors to allow for the secret monitoring of meetings, nor a mechanism to decrypt live meetings for lawful intercept purposes.