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Zoom Announces Security Council to Improve Data Collection and Sharing Processes


Zoom, the multi-participant video meeting app that has seen massive growth amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, has this week announced the formation of its new information security officer council, and the appointment of former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos as an advisor, as it seeks to address concerns with its data collection and sharing systems.

Zoom, which facilitates video meetings of up to 100 participants​, for free (for up to 40 minutes), has proven to be a great solution to address a sudden need for social connection in the market. That’s lead to explosive growth – the app went from 10 million users in December, to 200 million in March.

But with that increased attention, various security backdoors and user privacy issues with the app have been highlighted, which has forced Zoom to reassess its processes and realign itself as a consumer-facing app – given it was designed primarily for enterprise usage.

Among the various flaws Zoom has addressed:

It’s removed the Facebook SDK from its iOS app, due to concerns that users were unwittingly sharing information with Facebook

It’s removed integration with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, which shared LinkedIn profile information on Zoom participants within the app

It’s turned on passwords and waiting rooms for meetings by default in order to prevent uninvited guests from crashing your stream (or ‘Zoombombing’ as TechCrunch’s Josh Constine has dubbed it)

​​But even so, other potential issues with Zoom remain under investigation, which is where its new CISO Council will provide assistance and guidance.

As per Zoom founder Eric Yuan:

“I am truly humbled that – in less than a week after announcing our 90-day plan – some of the most well-respected CISOs in the world have offered us their time and services. This includes CISOs from HSBC, NTT Data, Procore, and Ellie Mae, among others. The purpose of the CISO Council will be to engage with us in an ongoing dialogue about privacy, security, and technology issues and best practices – to share ideas, and collaborate.”

Adding to this, former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos – currently an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University – will also provide industry expertise.

“We are thrilled to have Alex on board. He is a fan of our platform and will no doubt help us implement controls and practices that are best-in-class.”

Zoom will be hoping that the appointments help to counter recent negative coverage – Google recently banned its staff from using the app, while the Australian and Taiwanese Governments have also banned it for official use. Various schools have also opted to avoid Zoom, potentially limiting its potential.

As noted, Zoom does still have issues to resolve, but with the extra input from security experts, it may be able to address such concerns, and capitalize on its sudden rise – while also providing a helpful, quality video conferencing service for more users.

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