Zoom Video Communications Inc. (Zoom), an American company providing an app for video-conferencing or meetings, has consulted several experts and advisors from many companies to help in solving the problems related to users’ privacy and safety concerns.
The company has hired experts including a former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos as an advisor and set up an advisory board to improve the situation and address the existing problems. Meanwhile, Zoom’s business started growing significantly due to the lockdown and work from home policy prompted by the coronavirus epidemic.
Alex Stamos as a New Outside Advisor
Globally, the coronavirus-related lockdowns had forced people to work from home and millions of offices rushed to Zoom’s platform because of its ease of use and for conducting online video-conferencing with employees. Moreover, the Zoom app has been started widely by thousands of schools for its free offering to start online classes.
However, Zoom has recently faced widespread criticism from users, who were pointing out the lack of end-to-end encryption of meeting sessions in using the app, routing of traffic through China and “zoombombing”, where uninvited guests could crash video-conferencing. Citing the weak encryption of the app, Taiwan and Germany have put restrictions on the use of Zoom while Elon Musk’s SpaceX has banned the employees to use the app.
A former Facebook security chief, Alex Stamos had twitted in late March about a transparent policy with a 30-day security plan for Zoom. Following Stamos’ tweets, Zoom’s Chief Executive Officer, Eric Yuan called up Stamos by asking him to help in strengthening the company’s security, privacy, and safety capabilities as an outside consultant.
Stamos, now an adjunct professor at Stanford University, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday, “Zoom has some important work to do in core application security, cryptographic design, and infrastructure security, and I’m looking forward to working with Zoom’s engineering teams on those projects.”
Zoom’s Consultation with Other Experts
Theresa Payton, a former White House Chief Information Officer and currently CEO of Fortalice Solutions, said, “It would be in Zoom’s best interests to conduct a full-scale investigation into the security lapses and provide a report of whether or not the lapses led to an actual compromise.”
Zoom has taken up several steps recently and consulted several advisors and experts to address the concerns. The company has formed a CISO Council, which comprised of chief information security officers from companies such as HSBC, NTT Data, Procore, and Ellie Mae, to discuss privacy, security, and technology issues.
Starting from Wednesday at 10 AM PT, Zoom will be conducting a weekly webinar with the experts and advisors to provide privacy and security updates. In addition to this, it has also set up a board to advise CEO Yuan on privacy issues with the initial members of executives from VMware, Netflix, Uber, and Electronic Arts.
Zoom, which competes with Microsoft’s Teams and Cisco’s Webex, has seen a rapid surge in daily users, citing that it reached 200 million from 10 million with a record high of its stock in March. Reuters reported, “The recent concerns, however, have shaved 31% from the stock’s March high of $164.94 through Tuesday’s close. It was up 8% in early trading on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.”
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