Tuesday, 27 October 2020 15:05

Zoom previews end-to-end encryption


Videoconferencing service Zoom is previewing end-to-end encryption on an opt-in basis for all users.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is now available to all Zoom users, whether they have free or paid accounts. The only limitation is that the preview is only available for meetings with up to 200 participants.

E2EE is available on Zoom desktop client version 5.4.0 for Mac and PC, the Zoom Android app, and Zoom Rooms. An updated version of the Zoom iOS app awaits Apple's approval.

Zoom meetings are already secured by 256-bit AES-GCM encryption. The new feature means the encryption keys are only available to participants.

Normally, Zoom's server generates encryption keys for every meeting and distributes them to meeting participants using Zoom clients as they join.

When E2EE is active, the meeting host generates the keys and uses public key cryptography to distribute them to the other participants. Under that arrangement, the encrypted data relayed through Zoom's servers is indecipherable by Zoom, as Zoom does not have the decryption key.

Account admins can enable the E2EE feature at the account, group, and user level. It can also be locked at the account or group level. If enabled, meeting hosts can toggle on and off E2EE for any given meeting as they see fit.

E2EE initially requires the use of the Zoom desktop client, the Zoom mobile app, or Zoom Rooms.

"We're very proud to bring Zoom's new end-to-end encryption to Zoom users globally today," said Zoom CISO Jason Lee.

"This has been a highly requested feature from our customers, and we're excited to make this a reality. Kudos to our encryption team who joined us from Keybase in May and developed this impressive security feature within just six months."

Zoom is keen to get user feedback about E2EE during the next 30 days. When enabled, customers may submit feedback directly through the Zoom client by navigating to Settings and selecting Feedback.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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