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How Zoom responded to chats being ‘video-bombed’ after surge in users

Zoom’s Australia and the Asia Pacific head Michael Chetner said the company had already implemented most of the more than 100 new features developed to address concerns.

“A lot of the features are in our latest client, which we released last month, Zoom 5.0,” Mr Chetner said.

“The 90-day plan was about responding really quickly and providing confidence that we have a plan in place to address security concerns.”

Most of the features involve making optional measures default settings, including end-to-end encryption for all users, turning meeting passwords on by default, and allowing users to pick which data centres their information is routed through.

Zoom is yet to release its promised transparency report, which would update users on the types of data Zoom collects, when users’ data is requested by third parties such as governments.

Mr Chetner said the report had not been given a firm release date but the company remained committed to its promise to release it in the second half of this year.

“That’s a work in progress, we want to make sure that we’re delivering on all fronts there,” Mr Chetner said.

“A lot of work has been put in around that though, we’ve updated our privacy policies to be much simpler.”

Griffith University technology expert David Tuffley said Zoom had responded as well as could be expected for a company faced with a sudden surge of users.

“I think they found themselves in the enviable position of being too successful too quickly,” Dr Tuffley said.

“It’s a good platform that was well-conceived and nice to use, but didn’t have a huge number of users compared to some of the other players out there, so what they had in terms of security was appropriate for where they were.”

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Dr Tuffley said the fact Zoom was seen as easy to use as well as being independent from major players such as Microsoft and Apple likely led to its explosion in popularity.

“I think it’s likely that in a world where the pandemic never happened you would have seen a number of these changes trickle out gradually as the company responded to various issues,” he said.

“But as it happened, the problems came in like an avalanche.”

Other measures among those put in place are the establishment of a consulting group of chief information and security officers from a number of Zoom’s large corporate clients, as well as an ongoing program for well-intentioned “white hat” hackers to test the company’s new security measures.

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