CYBER SECURITYNews

Zoom Plans to Roll out the Much-Needed Privacy and Security Feature Soon

Brace yourself for real "End-to-End Encryption" coming to Zoom next week


Zoom announced plans to implement the real end-to-end encryption for calls in May, after public scrutiny. At first, Zoom planned to offer end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to paid users only, but many thanks to privacy advocates, the company decided to open up the feature to the masses. Although you have to verify yourself by adding SMS-based 2FA first.

The company now plans to roll out E2EE on its platform starting next week.

For clarification, Zoom has had its own security implementation in place to protect users’ privacy and security. The AES 256-bit GCM encryption ensured safe transit of data while on calls, but the company was at the center of it all.

However, that didn’t sit well with privacy advocates since the ubiquitous E2EE is the widely accepted encryption standard.

But using this solution, Zoom’s cloud automatically generates encryption keys and distributes them to meeting participants as they join.

E2EE encryption will see users generate their own keys for encrypting calls. These keys will be stored locally, so Zoom can’t be able to intercept ongoing calls.

It will be available as a “technical preview” next week, and for the next 30 days, the company will seek feedback from early adopters. Next week’s release is one of the four phases in Zoom’s E2EE rollout timeline that will be concluded next year.

Meeting hosts and participants will have to update their respective clients to use the feature. You must join the meeting either from the Zoom desktop client, mobile app, or Zoom Rooms, the company said in a blog post.

Additionally, Zoom users must enable E2EE meetings at the account level and opt-in to E2EE on a per-meeting basis.

Enabling E2EE on Zoom
Enabling end-to-end encryption in a zoom meeting

Hosts also play an important role as they must enable E2EE so it can be available for the rest of the participants. And according to Zoom, all participants must have the setting enabled to join an E2EE meeting.

Under the imminent phase 1, E2EE will only apply to meetings with up to 200 participants. Currently, Zoom Enterprise customers can host meetings with a maximum of 1000 participants.

You will know E2EE is turned on when you see a green shield logo in the upper left corner of their meeting screen with a padlock in the middle.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Talk to me via email at alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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