Zoom reverses decision, offers security encryption to all consumers

* Tech giant moves to stave off new competition with focus on end-to-end encryption

* Upgraded encryption not automatic, users to provide phone numbers for verification ─CEO Eric Yuan

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is said to be a good or bad news scenario for video-calling and/or video-conferencing software company Zoom.

Whereas its revenue increased by 169 percent upon the outbreak of the virus, it was fraught with security and vulnerability issues, not to mention “virtual fatigue” and new, direct competition from other global search engines such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, according to ConsumerAffairs.

Report indicates Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the company said it’s at least found a way to take care of the security issues for all of its users ─ not just certain paying subscribers ─ in hopes of keeping them as consumers of its services, rather than risk losing them to one of the big tech giants.

Zoom’s specific focus is on end-to-end encryption. At its core, end-to-end encryption prevents anybody short of a call’s sender and receiver to hack their way into a call, therefore taking “zoombombing” off the list of Zoom undesirables.

Not only does end-to-end encryption protect against hackers, but it also makes it nearly impossible for a government or law enforcement agency to view Zoom content, whether they have a legal right to do so or not, said the report.

It was further learnt that for Zoom, this is a change of heart. Only weeks ago, Eric Yuan the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) told analysts on a conference call that the company would only offer end-to-end protection if the user was a paying customer.

However, the new feature is not turned on automatically, as Zoom users shouldn’t expect end-to-end encryption to be there automatically, stated the report.

Unless they turn on the upgraded encryption and give Zoom a phone number it can verify, nothing will be changed; that would leave users in the same potential danger zone they’re in now.

Yuan says the decision to make the encryption activation manual was motivated by the desire to curb the creation of abusive accounts on the platform.

The Zoom CEO stated: “We are confident that by implementing risk-based authentication, in combination with our current mix of tools … we can continue to prevent and fight abuse.”

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