With India going in a lockdown alongside the rest of the world, a lot of people started working from their home and connecting with their loved ones using a web app called Zoom.
Zoom allows anyone to create a virtual meeting room, and around a hundred people can join and talk to each other in a free account, which also lets user up host a meeting for 40 minutes.
It’s Because of the ease of use of the Zoom app, everyone from educational institutions to small startups, to people in long-distance relationships, started using Zoom.
And soon, news started coming in that the Zoom app is being exploited by hackers stealing personal information of the users. Some also reported their meetings being Hijacked by random people.
Several authorities have already issued directives to people to avoid using Zoom. The recent advisory guidelines came from the ministry of home affairs India, to avoid using Zoom.
How Unsecure Zoom Video Conferencing Really Is?
I am not a fan of Zoom, so this is not a biased statement when I say that it does not end of the world when you use Zoom.
The problem came because of its popularity during the lockdown period. In December 2019, had around 10 million daily active users. In March 2020, it had over 200 million daily active users, thanks to the world practicing social distancing in choosing to work from home.
Users worldwide preferred Zoom because of its ease of use, and the same ease of use became a security concern.
Zoom is probably one of the few web services that would allow you to create a conference room without much effort, but it also means that it is more prone to attackers.
When you create a meeting room in Zoom, it gives you a unique URL, which has got the meeting room in it, and if you randomly keep on trying a different set of numbers, you will end up joining a meeting that’s happening in anywhere in the world.
And since Zoom is currently used by millions of people worldwide, the chances of ending up in someone’s meeting are high, and this is what the concern is.
To Zoom has a feature where you can set passwords, and no one can enter your meeting if they do not have got the password. It means, now, if someone needs to access a session, they will have to guess the meeting id as well as the password, which is pretty challenging to do.
So all the security issues can be solved if you set a password. The only problem is Zoom lacs to Prompt users to set a password for the meetings because Zoom was created for or doing virtual meetings and was meant to be used by professionals.
So we can say that Zoom was not prepared for it, and it is indeed Zoom’s fault but not so much that you to write off an amazing service that allows you to connect with other people around the world easily.
What about all the security and privacy concerns being reported
The Wikipedia page about Zoom Web Communications has got a section we are all the reports of security, and privacy concerns have been listed.
Most of them are pretty generic such as rooms Associates like LinkedIn and Facebook, collecting personal information of users because Zoom had integrated these services for extra features.
The person information ranges from the device model used by the user to the email address or the user to create a Zoom account.
While these actions should be criticized, Zoom is not the only one doing at every service that you use on the Internet comes with a few privacy concerns.
If you want to be a completely private person, you should avoid using the Internet.
Other concerns about Zoom is about the hijacking and manipulating a meeting, and it is mainly for people who are not familiar with the technology. It means the user did not set a password for their meeting or using the invite link irresponsibly by mass forwarding it to other people.
How to Secure A Zoom Meeting?
So while we are at it let’s see how you can secure zoom meeting if you still want to use. With more than a dozen reports coming out criticizing zoom, the company was quick to address the issue with and update so I would recommend you update your apps, which has got some extra features.
Along with setting up password for the meeting you create. On the website when you start a meeting you have the option to edit the meeting in the bottom right hand side.
You can click on it to go on the edit page where you have the option to setup a password you can check the box and save it. When you start the meeting you also have a password for the meeting know which you need to share with other people who want to join.
What are the alternatives to Zoom?
If you still do not want to use Zoom, you can try other alternatives such as Skype, Google Hangouts Meet, Join.Me.
Many services offer a similar kind of experience where you can create a room in which other people can join so that you can interact with your team.
You can share your screen so that you can teach other people or show them something on your computer, and there are several use cases.
However, I would recommend you to use services that are fit for your use case.
If you want to hang out with your friends, it would be better to use services like Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo.
To use these services, everyone needs to sign up for their account on the respective services, and everyone needs to be connected to make the video call. But it is more secure than Zoom and other web conferencing services.
If you want to hold a meeting with a large group of people, where you also need to share your computer screen to teach people or talk about a presentation, you can use alternatives such as Google Hangouts Meet or Skype.
Or maybe even Zoom if you create an account and set up a password for the meeting.