As remote working and online communication become the new norms in our daily lives, software company Zoom has become the leader of virtual connection during this pandemic.
Reuters reports that Zoom’s daily user count has skyrocketed to more than 200 million in March as more countries undergo stringent lockdown procedures in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Eric Yuan, the founder and chief executive of the video conferencing program, noted that the previous maximum was 10 million.
“Usage of Zoom has ballooned overnight,” Yuan said in a company blog post, “For the past several weeks, supporting this influx of users has been a tremendous undertaking and our sole focus.”
The spike in usage comes as the FBI’s Boston office warned of Zoom’s privacy being compromised. For instance, “zoombombing” is cropping up as uninvited hackers interrupt remote video conferencing calls. This poses a serious risk to user and company privacy, and attacks can be hateful and harassing.
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Yuan addressed this in his statement, saying that Zoom was not initially designed for such massive usage across the world.
As a response, Zoom has and will undertake more extensive privacy measures over the next 90 days, from reconfiguring data collection policies to changing content sharing settings for remote classrooms.
Yuan will also be hosting a weekly webinar beginning next Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST to give privacy and security updates.
“Transparency has always been a core part of our culture. I am committed to being open and honest with you about areas where we are strengthening our platform and areas where users can take steps of their own to best use and protect themselves on the platform,” Yuan said.
Still, online usage will likely continue to surge over the next few weeks of social distancing efforts, and the FBI made a public service announcement saying it anticipates cyber actors to exploit increased usage of any virtual environment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in businesses teleworking to communicate and share information over the internet. With this knowledge, malicious cyber actors are looking for ways to exploit telework software vulnerabilities in order to obtain sensitive information, eavesdrop on conference calls or virtual meetings, or conduct other malicious activities,” the statement read.
As of March 30, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) registered more than 1,200 complaints related to COVID-19 scams. The press release offers several ways for end users to safeguard their privacy, one of which includes verifying web addresses, keeping links to video conference calls in programs like Zoom private and not opening any suspicious attachments.
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