Zoom Video Communications Launches Free End-to-End Encryption

Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) has launched end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for both its free and paid services.

The encryption is available immediately. However, it is currently in technical preview. This means that, for a 30-day period, Zoom is actively soliciting user feedback for it. Users who enable the "feedback to Zoom" feature on their clients will be able to tell the company what they think of the new feature. This can be submitted directly via the Zoom system by going to the Settings option and tapping or clicking on the "feedback" option.

As the descriptor "end-to-end" implies, when E2EE is in use the only users that have access to the encryption keys securing the meeting are the participants.

A laptop showing a group of people on a video conferencing call.

Image source: Getty Images.

Until now, Zoom's system generated such keys on the fly as meeting participants joined an event. Under the stronger E2EE standard, it is now the meeting's host that "makes" and distributes these keys; the company's servers only act as neutral relays with no access to, or ability to "read," them.

"This has been a highly requested feature from our customers, and we're excited to make this a reality," Zoom quoted its chief information security officer, Jason Lee, as saying.

As Zoom became the go-to application for video conferencing during the coronavirus pandemic, it was hit by a barrage of criticism from users and IT pundits about its security features, or lack thereof.

Many complained in particular about the lack of E2EE. In April, the company announced a 90-day plan to beef up the security of its offerings; the following month it bought a specialist in E2EE technology, Keybase. The Keybase team, now part of Zoom, developed the new security regime.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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