March – April 2020 Zoom users experienced a large number of security risks, with random strangers popping in to their chats, unfortunate and at times disturbing screenshares happening and a number of other security issues. At a time when video calling for meetings and socialising was a must thanks to Covid-19, this caused major concerns and safety issues for those using Zoom.
However, Zoom were fast to respond, and instantly new security measures were put in place. Users suddenly found they needed to include passwords when sending invites to people, and for some the waiting room feature was rolled out immediately. Zoom started working on new ways to ensure security and privacy in the Zoom calls, eventually coming up with Zoom 5.0, released on April 27th 2020.
The new version of Zoom was encrypted by 256-bit GCM encryption, a tighter more robust encryption for meeting data and to reduce risk of tampering. All users of Zoom have to upgrade to Zoom 5.0 by May 30th 2020 in order to actually use zoom. So it was highly recommended you pre-warn your attendees prior to the call, allowing them time to upgrade beforehand if they hadn’t already.
Part of the new security features in Zoom include:
Improved Security Features and controls – The host can control who screenshares, if chat is available or not, and even whether people can rename themselves and change their profile picture or not during the meeting. The host can also remove a user from the meeting, or report them to Zoom’s Trust & Safety Team who will review them and take appropriate action.
Waiting Room Be Default – The waiting room feature was available prior to Zoom 5.0 but in the new version enabled the waiting rooms by default for Basic, Education and Single Licence Pro accounts. When a participant joins the call, they are left waiting for permission to enter by the host. If the host does not recognise the participants name, they can refuse them entry to the meeting. It is also a useful tool if you have back to back meetings, as it prevents participants from joining too early and ‘walking in’ on a meeting not meant for them.
Complex meeting Ids and Passwords – If you have shared your meeting room ID with people then you will need to check that it is the new 11 digit unique meeting ID. The IDs are also being removed from the content sharing window so no accidental sharing of the ID or other meeting information.
Anyone who has held a meeting post April 27th will have noticed they are required to create a password for meetings. In Zoom 5.0 these passwords will be more complex and administrated account admins can set requirements for the password (such as length, alphanumeric or special character requirements). Passwords come as standard on the Basic, Single Licence Pro and K 12 customers.
Watermarks – Firstly is the new Audio watermark. When turned on and a user starts recoding during a meeting, their personal information is embedded within the audio of the meeting. If you then find a copy of the audio published without consent on the internet Zoom will be able to trace it back to the participant that shared it.
Secondly, is Screen share watermark. Similar to the audio watermark this feature superimposes an image of the users email address on any screenshots they take during the meeting. Allowing it to be traced back if sensitive information from shared graphs, for example, has been shared without consent.
Meeting Registration and Authentication – Plan to publicise a networking event but want to ensure you know exactly who is joining the meeting? Then this feature is perfect as it allows you to set a registration form for the meetings. Collecting their names, email address and any additional information you may require from them before they join the meeting. Instead of the usual meeting ID link instead you share the registration link, and can identify attendees before the meeting begins. You can also run a report to collect all their information – so ensure you make people aware you will be doing this ahead of time, especially if you then plan to use that data in some way. Remember GDPR!
Authentication is available on Business, Enterprise and Education accounts allowing you to restrict access via specific email domain names – i.e so everyone with a company email address.
Recording Security – If you store your recordings on the cloud these are now encrypted with complex passwords by default to ensure only you can access them.
Data Centre Information – Hosts can now choose which data centre regions they would like their meeting traffic to use when scheduling a meeting. Zoom’s Data Centre’s are US, Canada, China, Austalia, Europe, India, Japan/Hong Kong and Latin America. This feature, at the time of writing this article, was only available to paid accounts.
These are just some of the new security features available, with more being considered and trialled depending on your account level. Many users will have received an email once the forced change was required but it is still best to ensure anyone you are having a meeting with has upgraded to save time when joining the meeting and avoiding any unnecessary disruptions.
If you want to check your version of Zoom is 5.0, you can do this by opening up the app on your desktop, when it prompts you to log in or join a meeting it tells you the version at the bottom of the screen.
Not used Zoom before and would like to test is capabilities, then why not book a 30 min free cuppa with me and we can go through ways you can use Zoom in your business.