US Senators Told To Avoid Zoom Meetings

A Strong Suggestion

Last week we told you about the alarming new trend of Zoom-bombing. It seems, however, that those aren’t the only problems with the platform. Following several incidents in Massachusetts, the FBI issued a warning. They encouraged users to keep better security practices when using Zoom.

A report this morning by Business Insider states that the Senate sergeant-at-arms has told Senators to find alternate platforms. It should be noted that this isn’t an outright ban. The sergeant-at-arms is tasked with running law enforcement and security on Capitol Hill.

This suggestion, a strongly emphasized one, comes after the discovery of a slew of faulty security measures on Zoom’s end.

Encrypted?

Zoom boasts end-to-end encryption. In layman’s terms, it means only the person sending or receiving the message can read (or see) the data. This prevents virtual eavesdroppers, or even Zoom, from being able to see what you’re sending. But, as we’ve seen, that isn’t entirely true.

Zoom has admitted to “mistakenly” rerouting information through China in an attempt to access more server space. Increased server space is desperately needed by the platform, whose usage rose 1900% since the beginning of January, to keep up with the demand of an at home workforce.

The drastic change in the way Americans are working has left the unprepared platform open to security holes and less than desirable practices. Zoom employs a Company Directory feature that identifies you by your email and groups you in with others in your company to help you find each other easier. However, many Twitter users reported that, despite registering with their personal email addresses, they were still grouped with their co-workers. Additionally, these users were paired with complete strangers who might use the same domain. This left their personal data exposed on the platform.

Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan, was forced to publicly apologize, stating that they were working diligently on fixing the problems caused by the surge in their service’s usage. “We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations,” Yuan announced via a blog post. “For that, I am deeply sorry.”

Government Response

As Zoom admits to routing data through China in an attempt at increased server space, some senators are calling for accountability. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) called on the FTC in a Tweet on Tuesday to further investigate Zoom.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Zoom is taking these security issues seriously. This may be part of the reason why, while the Senate is discouraged from using the platform, the Pentagon is stilling allowing its staff accessibility.

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13 thoughts on “US Senators Told To Avoid Zoom Meetings

  1. I’ve used Zoom successfully with both small (1 on 1) and mid-sized (45-50) meetings. The only difficulties I’ve encountered were instructing first-timers who were deathly afraid to click on anything. The paranoia over routing through Chinese servers may be well founded, but the company seems to have addressed that issue and corrected the problem.
    Defaulting to active password and waiting room were certainly good ideas that give much greater control to the meeting host. There may be other options, but I’m sticking with Zoom.

  2. Wow, As a former CTO who uses Zoom extensively, I have to say his article has a lot of misleading and old information. Zoom has aggressively dealt with the problems. The routing through China occurred for a limited time when Zoom experienced huge growth in worldwide traffic. Overflow traffic was routed by the hosting provider to backup sites, one of which was in China. It was removed from the overflow list as soon as they realized it had happened. There were some real problems with zoombombing, Most of these were from inexperienced users who opened up their meetings so anyone can join. Sadly some of these inexperienced users are elected officials who were embarrassed when they had uninvited guests. While it has always been possible to create secure meetings, Zoom reacted quickly with a slew of changes to make it much harder to have unsecured meetings. These included: defaulting to using a waiting room where attendees have to be manually admitted, defaulting to the use of a password, limiting the ability to change the display name. How about doing a little research before you repeat the rumors.

  3. I have already received very obvious hacking with what appears to be china. I cannot delete account without signing in and designating another password. Unacceptable. Can you advise how to correct this. I’m not using the app

    • For personal use, you may use Duo, Facetime, or Skype — for business use, you may use GoToMeeting, Skype or Microsoft Teams.

  4. And the US military still allows it to be used…you have got to be b.s.ing. me! If that data is not being captured by the Chinese military my ex wife still loves me!

  5. Considering the unexpected huge swell of usage, Zoom is doing a really good job in my opinion. they also have been quite forthright in addressing the problems that the overpowering rise in usage has brought about. I have been on several Zoom meetings in the last two weeks and all have been flawless. It is the easiest to use such tool I have come across; anybody at any skill level, and whether they use any Facebook or Google tools or avoid them, can participate easily.

  6. WOW, routing through China. The worst thing they can do.
    Maybe ZOOM is a china company in disguise. Or run by China agents. Wonder.

  7. Stupid is as Stupid does.
    If any of us are using any technology such as Zoom that is tied to China in any way, especially if it is sensitive information, and especially if they’ve proven themselves as untrustworthy, you should accept the moniker of “STUPID”…
    Now that said, is PCMatic associated with China in any way? Is it really possible not to be?

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