Zoom hires ex-Facebook security chief amid security concerns

Zoom hires ex-Facebook security chief amid security concerns

To address security concerns, ​Zoom has embarked on a 90-day plan​ and has formed a CISO Council

Credit: Zoom

Zoom Video Communications Inc has tapped former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos as an adviser, as safety and privacy concerns about its fast-growing video-conferencing app drive a global backlash against the company.

That backlash included a move by Alphabet Inc's Google to ban the desktop version of Zoom from corporate laptops.

Taiwan and Germany have already put restrictions on Zoom's use, while Elon Musk's SpaceX has banned the app over security concerns. The company also faces a class-action lawsuit.

Coronavirus lockdowns have driven a surge in Zoom usage, even as concerns have grown over its lack of end-to-end encryption of meeting sessions, routing of traffic through China and "zoombombing," when uninvited guests crash meetings.

Zoom shares were up 3.8 per cent in late trade on Wednesday after shedding a third in value over the previous 10 days.

Zoom attracted users with its ease of use, as well as a free offering.

In a series of tweets in late March, Stamos called on Zoom to be more transparent and roll out a 30-day security plan. That led to the platform's founder and CEO Eric Yuan asking him to weigh in as an outside consultant.

"Zoom has some important work to do in core application security, cryptographic design and infrastructure security, and I'm looking forward to working with Zoom's engineering teams on those projects," Stamos, now an adjunct professor at Stanford University, wrote in a blog post.

Stamos said on Twitter he would be a paid consultant to Zoom.

On Wednesday, Google said it was taking Zoom off workers' computers because of security concerns. A Google spokesman said employees could still use the mobile and browser-based versions of Zoom.

To address security concerns, Zoom has embarked on a 90-day plan and has formed a CISO Council, which includes chief information security officers of HSBC, NTT Data, Procore and Ellie Mae, to discuss about privacy, security and technology issues.

It has also set up a board to advise Yuan on privacy issues. The initial members include executives from VMware, Netflix, Uber and Electronic Arts.

Zoom, which competes with Microsoft's Teams and Cisco's Webex, has seen daily users jump to 200 million from 10 million and the stock surged to a record high in March.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru, Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting to Raphael Satter in Washington; Editing by Peter Henderson, Marguerita Choy abd Tom Brown)

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