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Zoom used by Kids and adults: Is it safe?

By: Rohan Pal, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi Last updated : April 01, 2020 4:00 pm

Is it safe to use Zoom application? What security risk it poses and does it make sense to rely completely on this software? Let’s try to argue.
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Zoom video conferencing application is now becoming the talk of the town as it is helping people to participate in video conferencing. The app has witnessed a surge in its userbase since the lockdown has been imposed by the Government of India. 

 

The video calling application is getting popular among both the adults and kids. The adults are using the application for meeting, while the kids are using the app to interact with their teachers and attend online classes. However, is it safe to use Zoom application? What security risk it poses and does it make sense to rely completely on this software? Let’s try to argue. 

 

Is your privacy at risk with Zoom?

 

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Just like any other web-based platform, Zoom also comes with a set of the privacy policy and conditions. The company collects information and store personal data and even share it with third parties such as advertisers. 

 

This is not it. The brand goes one step ahead of everyone that it also collects customer content. This includes cloud recordings, instant messages, files, whiteboards and more, which has been shared while using the services. Furthermore, it also collects video content and transcripts. This is a lot of data that the company collects and it can become a treasure trove for the hackers. 

 

Furthermore, it was reported that Zoom’s iOS application has been sharing analytical data with Facebook. Shockingly, the app sends user’s data even if he/she doesn’t have an account on the social media platform. This is primarily because the app uses Facebook’s software development kits.

 

The moment Zoom app is opened, it connects to Facebook’s Graph API. The API is the main way developers get the data in or out of Facebook, reports Motherboard. Moving on, the app notifies Facebook when the user opens the app and it provides sensitive information like model, time zone, the city they are connecting from, phone carrier and a unique advertiser identifier, which is created by the user’s device.

How secure is Zoom?

 

Coming to the security, Zoom came into limelight with a major security flaw which allowed hackers to access a user webcam and the company took months to tix the issue after being notified.

 

This is not it. The rise of the demand for Zoom platform has also resulted in a trend of Zoombombing. The internet trolls are jumping into public Zoom calls and using the platform’s screen-sharing feature to project pornographic content and more obscene content. Furthermore, if the host attempts to block the attack, the perpetrator simply re-entered the call under a new name and then screen share some disturbing content during a Zoom video conference. 

 

This is due to the Zoom policy that states that “host does not need to grant screen share access for another participant to share their screen.”

 

So, imagine if your kid is attending an online class using the Zoom video-conferencing application and suddenly, a perpetrator enters the call and starts sharing pornographic content or any other obscene content amidst an ongoing lecture. Or, if you are attending a business meeting and suddenly some trolls enter your chat and start sharing some obscene content. This lapse in security is a serious threat for those who are using Zoom application as a daily driver to work from home. 

 

Related Stories: 

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Zoom apologies for sharing data with Facebook

Top 10 tips and tricks to use Zoom better

 

So, what can we do to protect ourselves?

 

So, if want to make sure that your data is safe and you can use Zoom application with peace of mind, then you need to follow these steps:

 

  1. Don’t publicly share Zoom meeting link

Don’t share the meeting link on social media or any other public forums as anyone with the link can join the meeting. 

 

  1. Manage your screen sharing

The host of the meeting you should always manage the screen sharing option in the Zoom app. This will prevent participants from screen sharing during a call. All you need to do is go to the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing options. There you will see “Who can share?” choose “Only Host” and close the window. One can also lock the Screen Share to Host Only by default for all the meetings by going to the web settings. 

 

  1. Always allow signed-in users and lock the meeting

 

Zoom provides an option through which only those users who have joined the application can enter the meeting. Furthermore, it is also safe to lock the Zoom Meeting when it starts. This will prevent new participants from joining the meeting. One can go to Participants and click on Lock Meeting. 

 

  1. Use Zoom Waiting Room

 

If you are a host, then you can simply turn on the Zoom Waiting Room feature. Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you’re ready for them. Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control.

 

  1. Set up two-factor authentication

 

If you want to share the meeting link on social media platform then you can use the two-factor authentication feature. This basically generates a random meeting ID when you schedule a Zoom Meeting and one can personally DM the password to join the meeting. 

 

  1. Turn off a few settings

 

If you want to keep your Zoom app safe, you should turn off some features. To start with, one should turn off the file transfer feature, through which participants will not be able to send pics, GIFs, and other content on the in-meeting chat. Furthermore, one should turn-off annotation to prevent participants from writing all over the screens. Additionally, one should disable private chat among participants, which will prevent anyone from getting unwanted messages during the meeting. 

 

Apart from this, you should make sure to ask the shot if he/she is recording the call and one can double-check this as well. You will see a small red dot, which indicates the call is being recorded. One should use a virtual background to avoid sharing unnecessary information about the personal space that might give some information about your location. Always turn off the microphone and camera when you are not speaking. This will avoid unwanted tracking.

 

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Tags: Zoom Zoom app Zoom app safe Zoom safety Zoom privacy concerns Zoom video conferencing app Zoom

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