Theand chat app skyrocketed in popularity as looked for new ways to work, study and socialize amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the option to and newer features such as and a , it’s easy to see why Zoom’s popularity isn’t dwindling even as and offices become . But with all that popularity, comes privacy risks.
From built-in attention-tracking features (which have since) to and issues with (where uninvited attendees break into and disrupt meetings) — Zoom’s security practices have from users worldwide. New York’s Attorney General Letitia James outlining privacy vulnerability concerns in March 2020. The also cautioned users working from home about the software’s onboard privacy features.
experts previously expressed concerns about Zoom in 2019, when the video-conferencing software experienced both a , and a bug that allowed snooping users to potentially join , if those meetings were not protected with a password.
The issues exacerbated by widespread adoption at the start of the pandemic were just the latest chapter in the software’s rocky security history, and promptedin April 2020, freezing feature updates to address security issues over a 90-day update rollout. Though Zoom has since added security features like , there are still a few things you should watch out for to keep your chats as private as possible.
Here are some of the privacy vulnerabilities in Zoom that you should watch out for.
Zoom’s cloud recording feature might share meeting video with people outside the call
For paid subscribers,feature can either be a life-saver or a catastrophic faux pas waiting to happen. If the feature is enabled on the account, a host can record the meeting along with its text transcription and a text file of any active chats in that meeting, and save it to the cloud where it can later be accessed by other authorized users at your company, including people who may have never attended the meeting in question. Yikes.
, “What that suggests, but doesn’t clarify, is that for non-webinar/standard meetings, your person-to-person chat messages would be later sent to your boss after a call recorded to the cloud.”
Zoom does allow a narrowing of the audience here, however. Administrators can limit the recording’s accessibility to only certain preapproved IP addresses, even if the recording has already been shared. Participants can also see when a meeting is being recorded.
Zoom even shared information with Facebook
By now, you’re used to hearing it from the privacy-minded: Don’t useto log in to other sites and software unless you want on what you’re doing. Fair enough. But what to do when Zoom gets caught sending some of your analytics data to Facebook — whether or not you even have a Facebook account?
Anfound the iOS version of the Zoom app doing exactly that. Courtesy of Facebook’s Graph API, Zoom was telling Facebook whenever you opened the Zoom app, what phone or device you were using, and your phone carrier, location and a unique identifier. Motherboard also reported that so the app would stop sending certain data to Facebook.
In a, Zoom addressed the issue, noting “our customers’ privacy is incredibly important to us, and therefore we decided to remove the Facebook SDK in our iOS client and have reconfigured the feature so that users will still be able to log in with Facebook via their browser.”
As late as March 2020,contained some breezy language about its relationship to third-party data crunchers, which gives one reason to question where else — and to what extent — that data was being shared or sold that we didn’t know about.
“Zoom does use certain standard advertising tools which require Personal Data (think, for example,Ads and Google Analytics). We use these tools to help us improve your advertising experience (such as serving advertisements on our behalf across the Internet, serving personalized ads on our website, and providing analytics services),” the policy said at the time. “Sharing Personal Data with the third-party provider while using these tools may fall within the extremely broad definition of the ‘sale’ of Personal Data under certain state laws because those companies might use Personal Data for their own business purposes, as well as Zoom’s purposes.”
You should probably review your Zoom and device security settings with an eye toward minimizing permissions, and make sure any anti-tracking software on your device is up to date and running.
It may not help, but it can’t hurt.
It’s also important to keep your Zoom app up to date so your privacy is always protected with the latest security patches. Luckily, Zoom recently rolled out a newthat makes this process a whole lot more convenient.
For more, check out how to use the sneakyto get out of your meetings, and , and how to . And, does ?