Zoom, the incredibly popular video meeting app, has carried out several improvements to the overall security of the video conferencing platform over the past few weeks. The company has now asked all users to update to the latest Zoom 5.0 version before May 30. In an email communication with existing users, Zoom says they must update to the Zoom 5.0 version to take advantage of the new AES 256-bit GCM encryption. This comes at a time when Zoom is seeing usage skyrocket, but concerns remain about the privacy and security issues regarding video calls and user data. Zoom has more than 300 million daily users around the world.
The GCM (Galois/Counter Mode) encryption method will be enabled for all Zoom calls from May 30 onwards, and anyone using a Zoom app version older than Zoom 5 will be unable to join. Zoom had released this update late last month. “Beginning May 30th, 2020, Zoom will be enabling GCM encryption across the entire Zoom platform, providing increased protection for meeting data,” says the email sent to Zoom users.
Till now, Zoom has been using the 128-bit AES keys and with ECB (Electronic Code Book) encryption, which is less secure. Once the new AES 256-bit GCM encryption is active, you will see a green shield icon in your video call window to confirm that the conversation is being encrypted with the new standard. “A new encryption shield appears in the upper left of your Zoom Meeting window and indicates a secure, encrypted meeting. After May 30, the shield will be green for all users, denoting enhanced GCM encryption. Clicking the icon also takes you to the Statistics page for additional encryption details,” says the company. All parties in a Zoom call need to be on the Zoom 5 version of the app for the encryption to work.
Zoom has since also received new features, including the ability to report a user who may be misusing Zoom, updated Leave Now or End Meeting options and select data center regions when scheduling a meeting. Zoom is available for PCs, web browsers, Android devices, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad and Google ChromeOS. At a time when millions around the world are working from home to stay safe from the Coronavirus pandemic, video calling apps are more relevant than ever before. Zoom is competing with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, Houseparty and more.