Zoom rolls out security-focused 5.0 update

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How to use Zoom videoconferencing.
Image: Zoom

Zoom has quickly become a household name in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of students and employees have turned to the platform to conduct virtual meetings while practicing social distancing.

Unfortunately, Zoom has also been the subject of some serious privacy and security concerns in recent weeks. From problems like Zoom-bombing to unsecure data storage, users aren’t thrilled about the service.

To address those issues, Zoom announced that it would be temporarily halting feature updates for 90 days to better focus on security. Starting this week, a new Zoom 5.0 update is rolling out to users. It brings several new security features and should quiet some of the concerns for the videoconference platform.

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Fifth Version

By releasing Zoom 5.0, the company has reached an important milestone in its 90-day plan to address its security issues. While things won’t be solved overnight, the update is a step in the right direction.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan says, “I am proud to reach this step in our 90-day plan, but this is just the beginning. We built our business by delivering happiness to our customers. We will earn our customers’ trust and deliver them happiness with our unwavering focus on providing the most secure platform.”

Zoom 5.0 brings several new security features with it. For one, it introduces AES 256-bit GCM encryption. That’s a big upgrade that will protect data from tampering when its in transit. It is slated to go into effect on May 30. Sadly, this isn’t the same thing as end-to-end encryption, but it’s still better than the current standard Zoom is using.

Users will also find a new security icon in the meeting menu bar. Like Zoom’s other settings icons, this allows users to easily access their various security options. Tools like the ability to lock meetings, boot unwanted participants, and restrict screen sharing are all found here.

On top of this, passwords will be enabled by default for most Zoom users. Likewise, the waiting room feature will be on by default. That change affects basic, single-license Pro, and education accounts. Business customers will have more control over Zoom’s security and can do things like set password complexity requirements.

Quick Response

Although Zoom arguably should have had better security practices in place, it should be credited for its quick response. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it saw a spike in users. The firm claims that it jumped from 10 million daily users in December to more than 200 million in March.

That sort of boom would be hard for any company to handle. Let alone one that works with videoconferencing.

Once the security concerns started to crop up, Zoom was quick to address them. Now, just 20 days after Yuan promised changes, they are starting to arrive.

Earning back the trust of its customers won’t happen overnight. Neither will securing its platform. However, it appears that Zoom is on the right track with its new 5.0 update. Users should be on the lookout for it in the coming days.

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