With millions more people using Zoom amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, the platform is, logically, very keen to capitalize on that increased interest. But data security questions have clouded Zoom's progress, and forced many to re-think their usage of the app.
That's prompted Zoom to take quick action, with its latest update on this front seeing it acquire encrypted messaging platform Keybase as it moves to further refine its back-end security systems.
As explained by Zoom:
"Since its launch in 2014, Keybase’s team of exceptional engineers has built a secure messaging and file-sharing service leveraging their deep encryption and security expertise. We are excited to integrate Keybase’s team into the Zoom family to help us build end-to-end encryption that can reach current Zoom scalability."
The announcement adds to Zoom's appointment of an information security officer council, the addition of new AES encryption of Zoom data, and changes to its system operating structure to remove data-sharing processes. It's clear that Zoom wants to snuff out any concerns about potential data-sharing via its app, and overall, looking at its upgrades, it's certainly far more secure than it was just last month.
Keybase's team will further add to this, which will change that app's focus - as explained by Keybase:
"Initially, our single top priority is helping to make Zoom even more secure. There are no specific plans for the Keybase app yet. Ultimately Keybase's future is in Zoom's hands, and we'll see where that takes us."
According to The Verge, Keybase co-founder Max Krohn will immediately take on the leadership of Zoom’s security engineering team.
So, should you trust Zoom with your data?
Definitely, Zoom's doing all the right things, and the acquisition of Keybase is another example of just how seriously the app is taking its obligations in this respect. Adding new levels of expertise, and new layers of protection, significantly changes things for the app - but then again, Google has also recently expanded access to its multi-participant video chat platform 'Meet' as well, which will no doubt see many people shifting to Meet in preference to Zoom.
In its announcement that Meet access would be made free, Google was also very keen to highlight its security measures, a clear dig at Zoom's stumbles. Google is the much bigger app, with access to much more experience and resources, so you would expect that, on balance, Google Meet would be the more secure option, if this remains a concern.
But again, Zoom is moving in the right direction, and it's addressing its vulnerabilities fast in order to meet increasing need.