Tech giant Google has banned Zoom, the videoconferencing service that has enjoyed explosive growth during the Chinese virus lockdown, from employees’ computers, citing potential security vulnerabilities.
At the start of April, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced that in the first three months of 2020, the platform reached 200 million daily meeting participants, up from 10 million in December — a twentyfold increase.
However, the platform’s surge in popularity has been accompanied by a range of privacy concerns. “Zoombombing” has emerged as a phrase for a common phenomenon in which uninvited trolls break into a Zoom meeting. At the end of March, the New York attorney general sent a letter to Zoom expressing concern about the platform’s privacy protections, including the possibility for hackers to gain access to users’ webcams via the platform.
Earlier this month, former NSA hacker Patrick Wardle discovered that Zoom has a security vulnerability that could allow hackers to surreptitiously record users via their webcams and microphones.
The company is now being sued by shareholders in a class-action lawsuit for allegedly failing to disclose the service’s security problems, as well as the fact that its calls are not encrypted.
Now Google has instructed its employees not to install Zoom on their computers. A Google spokesman confirmed to BuzzFeed that the service, a competitor to Google’s Meet app, has been disabled on company-owned computers.
Last week, Google sent an email to employees whose work laptops had the Zoom app installed that cited its “security vulnerabilities” and warned that the videoconferencing software on employee laptops would stop working starting this week.
“We have long had a policy of not allowing employees to use unapproved apps for work that are outside of our corporate network,” Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News. “Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees. Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile.”
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.