Zoom Privacy Debacle Shows Danger Of Reliance On Big Tech During Coronavirus Lockdown

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07/04/2020

Security vulnerabilities video conferencing app Zoom have revealed the danger of putting blind faith in big tech’s coronavirus solutions.

Zoom was riddled with privacy issues for years, and its competitors aren’t much better. With more than half of humanity under some form of lockdown, those lucky enough to keep their jobs have gotten to grips with video conferencing apps, with Zoom the most popular. According to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, the app had 200 million daily users in March, up from 10 million just three months earlier. However, it didn’t take long for problems to emerge.

First, “zoom-bombers” discovered public video chats and jumped in, hijacking them. In one case, swastika-tattooed scoundrels interrupted a classroom session to spout profanities, prompting the FBI to issue a warning. 

Passwords keep the Zoom-bombers out, but even savvy users aren’t safe. According to a Friday report by the Washington Post, thousands of recorded meetings and calls have been exposed online. The paper claimed to have seen people’s names and phone numbers, financial statements, and children’s personal details – as well as “deeply intimate conversations” and nudity. 

These recordings weren’t exposed on Zoom’s own cloud storage service. Rather, users who saved the recordings before uploading them to other, unsecure, storage sites were vulnerable, due to the fact that Zoom names every such video the same way. As such, anyone with the right search tools could scour the internet for files named, for example ‘Zoom_1’ and find a trove of recordings.

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