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IT security AMO
Is Zoom Video Conference the right choice for you?

The big concern that is now reveled about Zoom is that whilst it is a USA based buiness the technology that runs it is developed in China. This in itself should not be a concern however Bill Marczak,  Research Fellow @ The Citizen Lab observes;

"Zoom has made the classic mistake of designing and implementing their own encryption scheme, rather than using one of the existing standards for encrypting voice and video content," 

In plain English this means that whilst it uses AES-256 encryption Zoom's version has not been open to peer review and has been developed in house in China.

Of added concern is, when security researchers ran simulated Video calls in a forensic environment they observed packets of data leaking out to servers in Chna. So unlike other products in the market Zoom is not using true end-to-end encryption. 

Without end-to-end encryption 'bad actors' can intercept packets of your conferences. Add this to the encryption packets being sent to servers in China it all leads up to major concerns.

According to the BBC, Alan Woodward a professor of computer science at Surrey University: "I would not use Zoom for any sensitive or secret discussions."

Zoom claims there are now over 200 million meetings being held on it's platform every day. But lets take a look at typical use scenarios:

  • Business pruposes
    • Avoid Zoom if you are discussing confidential Inerlectual Property.
    • Avoid Zoom if you are part of a design team.
    • Avoid Zoom if discussing personel issues.
    • Avoid Zoom if you are involved in any type of security work.
    • Use zoom if you are running training courses that are non propreitary in nature.
    • Use zoom if you are having weekly catch up with remote teams.
    • Use zoom if you are having sales & marketing calls with groups of larger than 4.
  • Personal & Social
    • Avoid Zoom if you are talking about highly personal issues.
    • Avoid Zoom if you are part of a therapy group where confidential issues are being discussed.
    • Use zoom if you are just catching up with groups greater than 4 people where apps such as skype of whatsapp cant be used.
    • Use zoom if you are just part of a large group having fun.
Also if you are going to use Zoom then make sure you follow the advice below to avoid the other pitfalls associated with Zoom.
Keeping Your Zoom Video Conference safe

Millions of you are using the Zoom video-conferencing tool to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and loved ones during the Coronavirus crisis. 
But online trolls have started hacking these calls and broadcasting pornographic material or other forms of shocking content. In fact, it’s happening so often that it’s actually been given a name - ‘Zoombombing’.
The issue is that Zoom calls have a ‘public link’, which means anyone can join your call. 
Trolls have been collecting these links and sharing them in private chat groups, before signing on to other people’s calls and causing carnage.
Here is how you can stop this from happening: 
  •  Click on “Settings” in the left-hand menu
  • Scroll down to “Screen sharing” and under “Who can share?” click “Host Only”
  • Click on “Save” - Once this is saved in your settings, any future call should be protected. 
If you forget to change the setting before you start your meeting, there’s a way to modify your settings after it starts:
  •  Once your Zoom meeting is running, click the caret to the right of the green “Share Screen” button in the center of the bottom row of icons
  • Click “Advanced Sharing Options...”
  • A dialog box will pop up allowing you to switch screen sharing availability from all participants to the host only. 
For those of you using Zoom on your mobile device, simply:
  •  Tap the More (...) button at the bottom right corner of the screen
  • Tap “Meeting Settings”
  • If you’re using an iPhone, scroll down to “Allow Participants to Share” and switch the toggle off. If you’re using an Android phone, find “Lock Share” and switch the toggle on.
Each of us needs to consider if the convenience that Zoom offers outweighs the risks involved in using it. 

Zooms Commitment to User Support & Business Continuity During the Coronavirus Outbreak 

To see the full statement from Eric S. Yuan at Zoom.

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