The Rise Of Zoom That Led It To Get Banned By Google And A Lot Of Other Companies

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The popular video conferencing app Zoom’s rise to popularity was as rapid as its downfall. The exploded adoption of Zoom was no less than a surprise, but soon it caught into various allegations, concerns and security threats to users. So what exactly went wrong? Let’s find out.

The advent of the outbreak of COVID-19 forced people worldwide to work from home. This, in turn, led to the video conferencing platform Zoom observing a humongous rise in their user base because it became the most popular go-to tool for remote working being preferred by all.

Zoom grew from just 10 million daily active users to 200 million users in the course of just three months. The company’s stock skyrocketed as well by more than doubling and reaching an all-time closing high of $151.70 in late March this year.

However, soon after a lot of bad press followed as major security loopholes in the platform started getting discovered.

As of now, the platform has been reportedly banned by the many tech giants who have significant impact and influence on the tech ecosystem worldwide.

  • Google has banned Zoom from company-owned computers
  • SpaceX has banned employees from using Zoom
  • Taiwan has instructed government agencies not to use Zoom
  • Siemens, German industrial giant urged employees not to use the app

The list is long enough.

What exactly went wrong with Zoom?

Trouble started brewing amidst the air the moment it was discovered that Zoom might anonymously be sending data to Facebook as the company uses Facebook SDKs. That pretty much got the ball rolling considering the sceptical history of Facebook in terms of users privacy. This caught the eyes of many watchdogs of the industry and from then onwards other more serious security flaws started surfacing.

Cybersecurity experts all over the world started unanimously warning that Zoom is filled with security loopholes and other serious issues. Therefore, they advised to stay off this particular platform and rely on other safer enterprise-grade applications such as Microsoft Teams, Webex and Bluejeans.

The one Zoom security issue that was highlighted the most is ‘zoom-bombing’. This particular vulnerability allowed attackers to sneak into private video conferences wherein they were leaving unwanted, lewd and vulgar messages in the chatroom.

Apart from this, another major issue which emerged was the fact that Zoom has been found out to be dependent on Chinese R&D for its product development. This, in turn, has now led many US intelligence officials to express their concerns about the possibility of China taking advantage of Zoom’s security vulnerabilities for espionage purposes.

Also now, in a recent report published by Bleeping Computer, it has been found out that the data of around a whopping 5,00,000 Zoom users in on sale on the dark web. What’s more appalling is the fact that these compromised accounts are being sold at prices which are even lower than Re 1.

It has been mentioned in the report that Cyble, a cybersecurity intelligence firm, was first found this listing around April 1. The firm then went ahead and purchased close to  5,30,000 accounts at just the meagre price of $0.0020 per account. They did this so that users would be alerted about the breach in their privacy.

Soon enough Zoom’s stock price started crashing and tumbled down 30% to $113 from its peak of $159 within a week’s time.

Cyble reported that the hackers were able to compromise these accounts using credential stuffing attacks which means they used leaked data to access these accounts. The ones which seemed to get logged into successfully were being put up for sale.

Zoom, to counter these mounting problems, has been trying to rapidly introduce new security measures by pausing the development of other unnecessary features but it is quite doubtful if they will be able to regain the trust of their users once again so soon.

Nevertheless, it is still important that the company fixes all that is going wrong with the application right now. Zoom is indeed working hard to close all such loopholes as soon as possible. Today, through a major update release, the company has claimed to close many the major flaws including Zoom-Bombing.

Considering that the impact of Coronavirus appears to last for a very long time, it’s just too early to write off Zoom’s story. The stock price is once again going up as given to the fact that features offered by Zoon video conferencing are, by far, the most appreciated by the users. Industry experts believe that if Zoom is able to weather the privacy storm, it could be another great case study to go through.

Whatever be the situation, we will keep you posted on all future development.


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