Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
New York State Leads the Charge in Upcoming Zoom Security Enhancements
The Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York has reached a settlement with Zoom Video Communications. The agreement promises enhanced data security and user controls.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James made the announcement on May 7, 2020, following a state-led investigation into the video conferencing service launched in March 2020. The inquiry focused on the security concerns around the sudden widespread use of Zoom’s service during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
The enhanced data security measures include encryption of data at rest, protection from hacker attempts at account access, and the implementation of a vulnerability management program and regular penetration testing. The enhanced privacy controls will be applied to all account tiers, including free accounts and accounts used in K-12 education.
User privacy has also been addressed by the agreement. This results in a severance of Zoom’s user-data sharing practice with Facebook and LinkedIn, particularly in cases where the user has explicitly selected the “anonymity” option. Zoom has agreed to provide the New York State Attorney General’s Office a copy of its annual security assessment report.
Full details of the agreement can be viewed on the New York State Attorney General’s website.
On a related note, federal US officials recognize the benefit to US citizens of web conferencing during the pandemic. This had led to the Office for Civil Rights division of the US Department of Health and Human Services announcing in March 2020 the temporary suspension of penalties for HIPAA noncompliance when using video conferencing services for telehealth.
The New York State Attorney General’s Office’s settlement with Zoom brings great benefit to all users of the service. Zoom will need to build the security mechanisms to comply with the settlement, and much of these enhancements address security concerns that have been raised about the service. Therefore, Zoom can incorporate the security enhancements in a comprehensive way while ensuring that it remains compliant with the terms of the agreement.
Of note in the settlement letter is Zoom’s requirement to encrypt data at rest in addition to data in transit. While this addresses the issue of user data stored in Zoom’s data centers, it does not explicitly mention end-to-end encryption per se; there is still an implied intermediary step between the encryption-in-transit and the encryption-at-rest states that is not explicit addressed in the agreement. Zoom customers are advised to wait and see how Zoom implements the security measures before concluding that Zoom is as secure as its rivals.
Info-Tech Research Group continues to stay on top of these developments. Watch this space for more updates.
Want to Know More?
As Zoom approaches the end of its 90 day moratorium on enhancements to focus on security, the company names Jason Lee, SalesForce’s former SVP of Security Operations, as its new CISO.
Moving townhall meetings online can present a range of virtual problems – not least, which web conferencing tool to use! This note explores how Microsoft Teams can be used by governmental bodies to remotely host their townhalls and other public engagements.
Upgrading one’s videoconferencing hardware is an important long-term investment that revolves around several decision points. This note offers a process for thinking about these decision points.
Two new vulnerabilities in Zoom’s web conferencing software were discovered in early June 2020. The vulnerabilities could allow malicious actors the ability to execute arbitrary code on target hosts and exploit path traversal vulnerabilities in the software. Zoom’s latest update addresses and remediates the vulnerabilities.
Zoom’s security consultant has announced that it will be providing strong encryption to paying customers and educational users of its web conferencing service. The move is being made in consultation with industry security consultants and privacy advocates.
RingCentral has launched RingCentral Video, a videoconferencing service integrated into its unified communications platform. This is a move that steers the company away from its partnership with Zoom Video Communications.
Remote annual general meetings and shareholder meetings have certain end-user requirements that cannot be fully met by standard go-to web conferencing tools. Explore what other software options are available in this marketspace.
Verizon has acquired BlueJeans for between $400-500 million. The move will see BlueJeans integrated into Verizon’s 5G plans, utilizing BlueJeans' advanced and encrypted video-conferencing solutions for telehealth, eLearning, and field service work.
With an update that makes it easier for new and existing users to jump into a meeting, Cisco’s Webex is looking to address one of the few areas where it’s not rated at the very top of the pack.