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Stop Using Zoom Video Conferencing App

Updated on June 21, 2020

Privacy & Security issues with Zoom

Apps like zoom should not exist. It's such a privacy and security nightmare, that even the world's biggest congragation of boomer level tech intelligence, bans it's users from using it.

Imagine being a zoom executive, watching your company growing to a global meme, and then see it all crumble as Elon Musk bans its use at SpaceX, because of privacy and security concerns. Zoom is so bad at it right now, that it's top executives are being sued by their own investors, after lying about its encryption, concealing security issues, and hiding data sharing practices.
So if you're watching this video, and you are a zoom user or know someone who is, then i hope to convince you to stay away from it as much as possible.

Here is why you should immediately delete your zoom account, uninstall the app and drill through your motherboards.

No End-to-End Encryption

First of all, let's start with the fact that zoom was straight-out lying about its service. In its white paper, zoom stated the support for end-to-end encryption was available to hosts to establish securer meetings. But a zoom spokesperson later revealed in a comment to the intercepts, that no end to end encryption was available, nor possible for video meetings in Zoom.

The only video encryption zoom is using, is a normal TLS encryption, that's common on most websites, with https connection. This level of encryption only protects your data in transit, like on a public Wi-Fi or from your ISP, but it doesn't prevent zoom, or it's third parties, from transcribing, or listening in on your video calls.

Once they have your calls, they can do with them whatever they want. Transcribe them, solve them, monetize them and when a company holds your data, their record of handling it, is important.

User Privacy Not Taken Seriously

Zoom will have you believe, they take users privacy extremely seriously, except when they sell your data to Facebook or Google, and won't even tell you about it, especially when it comes to Facebook.

Zoom has been using Facebook Software Development Kit, to develop its mobile apps. SDK is a piece of pre compiled code that developers can use to build certain features into their apps. It's a standard practice, not a big deal, but its also how Facebook can steal your private information even if you have never installed a Facebook app on your phone. Anytime you launch the app, zoom immediately sends Facebook your unique advertiser ID, time zone and city you're in, a device model and your phone carrier.

Facebook knows exactly who is using zoom and how. Zoom privacy and policy mentions that there are third-party partners that collect this information, but it said nothing about Facebook. This is breach of Facebook's own terms, that require developers to disclose to users that Facebook would have access to their data. So in a way you could say that zoom worst standards at dealing with user privacy then Facebook. Which is already bad enough.

Now zoom has since removed the Facebook SDK from app, after pretending they didn't know, Facebook was collecting all of that data, but the issue of bad data practice remains.

Zoom tries the traditional appeal to the privacy crowd when they say, zoom does not mine user data or cell data, of any kind to anyone. But then they're trying to weasel their way out of it by twisting the definition of selling.

Zoom doesn't think it is selling your data, because when they send it to third parties, they do not receive direct payments in exchange. Zoom does admit they are using third party trackers to improve advertising experience, with whom they are sharing your data. So in other words, zoom is selling your data to other companies not for money, but to serve ads, for which they earn money.

This is important because it apparently worked with the regulators, who designated zoom as FERPA compliant.

FERPA or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a set of rules, based on which colleges and school choose software to work with their students. Zoom received FERPA designation because companies like it get away with self-regulating and defining what constitutes a breach of privacy, on top of the privacy nightmare, zoom comes pre-loaded with horrible security vulnerabilities.

Bugs & Security Issues

An Ex NSA Hacker discovered recent bugs in zoom, that would let hacker take over Mac, and control microphones and webcams. Another two security researchers found a bug in zoom that allowed hacker to steal Windows passwords.

Before apple released an update, zoom installed a hidden web server on people Macs that allowed websites to automatically add infected users, to a video code without their permission.

FBI has released an announcement, warning users of zoom bombing. This is where zoom generates your links, that can be used to access meetings, but hackers can easily guess them and hijack their sessions, which has let to a barrage of trolling and harassments. Zoom has released a statement, explaining to people, how to protect themselves from getting bombed.

As another oopsie, zoom leaked photos, emails and other personal information of users to random strangers, giving them the ability to start a video call with them. This wasn't so much of a bug and was a feature. Zoom automatically adds other people to list of contacts, if they share the same email domain.
Which makes sense if you use a company email, but it's a disaster if you sign up with your personal email account. And its probably how zoom, managed to inflate their user account, and create the illusion, they are leading an emerging video conferencing platform.

While some of these features have been fixed, and zoom promised to improve it's policies within the next 90 days, the app has some fundamental features, that have been harshly criticized by privacy advocates.

Zoom has an attention tracking feature, that will let your boss know, when you are not focused on the call window. Zoom doesn't notify participants, that the host enabled attention tracking for their call. Zoom administrators have the ability to access contents of recorded calls, including video, audio transcripts, and chat files. For any video calls in their organization, they can see users operating systems, IP addresses, location data and information. These administrators can join any call in their organization, at any moment without the warning or consent from the attendees of the call.

Conclusion

While some would find these dystopian features useful, others took a sharp turn at zoom. The app use was officially banned by UK's Ministry of Defense, New York City Schools, and SpaceX among many others. It only makes sense to ban the use of zoom, if you have a business, you're potentially leaking your intellectual property, or trade secrets to your competition.
If you're a teacher, and you force students to use zoom for online classes, you're exposing children's privacy to an advertisement based company, with a horrible track record.
Don't use zoom. Don't use it for personal communication. Tell your boss, they are exposing their business and employees to harm and abuse. Tell your schools to be responsible with children's privacy, and use encrypted apps preferably open-source ones.
In 2020, after so many scandals of mishandling of users privacy, data breaches and surveillance, apps like zoom should not exist, they are a step backwards.


© 2020 An0n Ali

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