Zoom has announced that will roll out the first phase of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) next week and it will be available to both paid and free users.
“End-to-end encryption is another stride toward making Zoom the most secure communications platform in the world,” wrote Zoom CEO Eric S Yuan in his blogpost.
The first phase will include a technical preview where users can give feedback to the company for the first 30 days. The rollout has total of four phases and it will have many new features as well. Now, users will be able to host up to 200 participants.
End-to-End encryption wouldn’t a default feature of the platform and will have to be manually enabled. Meetings can be locked at account and group level only if all participants have the E2EE meeting setting enabled.
One can check if the setting is enabled by simply looking for a green shield logo in their meeting screen on the left top corner. The participants can see the host’s security code and if that code matches with the participant code on the screen, that means the meeting is encrypted.
The E2EE feature will disable the feature of joining before the host, breakout rooms, polling, private chats, meeting reactions, cloud recording and streaming options.
Users’ safety concerns
After the pandemic broke out, many companies in the world struggled to sustain themselves in the market. That’s when Zoom, one of the top leaders in modern enterprise video communications, helped many to flourish. Be it the IT sector or the educational sector all relied on Zoom for conducting meetings, webinars, online classes, etc. And that’s how it gained a large number of users.
But along with the popularity, the company also had to face criticism. Many users raised concerns over its security. Some even complained that hackers joined meetings without an invite and tried to snoop on users.
There were instances of privacy threats as the app did not have E2EE, and the meetings were only protected by AES 256-bit GCM encryption, that would generate keys on Zoom’s server. Petitions were filed alleging lack of internet safety and violation of IT Act, 2000.
“I still remember during one of my online sessions in Zoom, somebody hacked the meeting and wrote ‘Kill me’ that caused panic among the class. Finally, the rollout of E2EE, will help us gain the same trust which we had earlier in Zoom,” said Shubham Poonia, a 23-year-old, who is studying Marketing and Management Communications at Convergence Institute of Media Management and IT Studies.
Dalia Chakraborty, a private tutor, echoed Poonia’s view. “Zoom’s E2EE is a much-needed thing today as the platform has seen a lot of hacking mishaps. Hopefully, people who left the platform will now find it safe enough to come back,” said the tutor.