Over the last few weeks, Zoom Video Communications has seen a surge in popularity due to the number of people using it for conference calls, classes, and to catch up with family. However, we are recommending that our clients seek out alternative ways to communicate over the Internet due to reported security issues. There are reports that Zoom has no end to end encryption, despite advertising that they do. Meaning Zoom is vulnerable to leaking user data that is supposed to be private. Zoom has also been caught in situations where people are exploiting the microphone and webcam privileges. An exploit called “Zoom-bombing” is allowing attackers to jump into a call and post or say anything they want, despite never being invited to the call. Many cybersecurity experts have gone ahead and labeled the software itself as malware, due to the way it interacts with your computer’s permissions and files. As your IT provider, we highly recommend considering an alternative to Zoom for anything work-related as it could result in compromising information about your practice or your equipment.
We are providing a YouTube video that goes in depth about some of the troubles Zoom has been facing. Just click on the hyperlink for some additional information, you can also read more about our recommendations to a Zoom alternative down below.
As an alternative to Zoom, we recommend that you use either Google Meet or FaceTime. If you choose to continue to use Zoom, please understand the risks you are taking when trusting their software. However, you can still password protect your meetings and change a few other settings to protect your data and meetings. We are not necessarily trusting the claims from their website, but we have linked a resource page for Zoom Security that will show you how to turn on these settings and protect your meetings.
Google Meet is very similar to Zoom in the sense that you simply create a meeting from the website and then invite other users through a link. The creator of the meeting is the only one who must have a Google account. The host of the meeting then has to approve all the guests who wish to join the session, or must manually invite them. Thus providing more security and host privileges than other platforms. The downside to Google Meet is the inability to show all guests at the same time, unlike Zoom. It offers a few options for viewing users, but defaults to cycling to whoever is currently speaking on the large main screen, and smaller tiles to the side for listeners.
FaceTime is a video service available for exclusively Apple users. It can work between iPhones and Macs, but will not work if someone is using a device that is not running an Apple OS. This form of communication is safe and effective for Apple users but is not an option for all users.