06 Apr 2020
It’s a lot easier to get away with bad deeds when the attention isn’t on you… Which is a lesson Zoom is learning right about now, as the business booms in the wake of the global pandemic.
In addition to all the other privacy concerns we outlined in our previous article about Zoom, a recent investigation into the video conferencing behemoth revealed that, not only is their “end-to-end encryption” claim a complete fabrication, but the actual keys they use to encrypt (and subsequently decrypt) “private” meetings are apparently being send to servers LOCATED IN CHINA, regardless of the participants’ locations.
And while the investigation revealed that there were only five servers in China, compared to 68 in the US, Zoom would often send the encryption keys to Beijing, even if their clients were in North America.
A Closer Look at Zoom’s Encryption Issues
This isn’t the only issue. Zoom’s questionable encryption policies are really piling on top of each other.
We mentioned in our previous article that there were some serious questions about Zoom’s “end-to-end” encryption claim. Lucky for us, Zoom “clarified” that its definition of “end-to-end” didn’t match that of the cybersecurity community’s generally agreed upon definition. While the term generally implies that communication is protected in such a way that only the sender and his/her recipient(s) have access to the data, Zoom’s definition of “end-to-end” apparently means that only communications meetings’ participants and Zoom are encrypted.
Not only is this misleading, to the point of being fraudulent, but it also give Zoom access to the unencrypted data, meaning that the communications have the potential to be monitored. They state, nonetheless, that they, “never built a mechanism to decrypt live meetings for lawful intercept purposes.”
And when discussing the actual methods used to encrypt data, Zoom lied again. They stated that they used AES-256 encryption, when in fact, they are only using AES-128. Additionally, they’re using ECB mode. This is a major problem because ECB is no longer seen as acceptable, because it has been shown to improperly hide data patterns, meaning it’s easier to decode.
So maybe you can understand why it’s rather disconcerting that they are housing decryption keys in China?
It’s also worth pointing out that even though Zoom is a US-based company, three other companies they own, which are responsible for developing software, are based in China. These companies are staffed by over 700 R&D employees, even though the vast majority of revenue comes from North America.
Taken as a whole, Zoom’s business dealings seem more than a bit sketchy. We recommend doing everything in your power to secure your home office. A great start is implementing the tips we recommend in our free Remote Security Checklist. You can also call us any time at 919-422-2607, or schedule a free consultation with Craig by clicking here.
And again, we are not (yet) telling you not to use Zoom, but it might not be a bad idea to start looking for alternatives, especially if privacy and security are important and/or necessary to your business.