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Zoom hires ex-Facebook security chief because Google bans the desktop app

(Reuters) – Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM.O) tapped former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos as a consultant because security and privacy concerns about his fast-growing video conferencing app are triggering a global backlash against the company.

FILE PHOTO: The ticker icon for zoom video communications is featured on the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York, New York, the United States, on April 18, 2019. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri

This backlash involves a switch from Alphabet Inc on Wednesday (TogetL.O) Google bans the desktop version of Zoom from corporate laptops.

In an illustrative example of Zoom’s security issues, officials at Berkeley High School in California said they had stopped using the app after a “naked adult man with racial insults” broke into a password-protected Zoom meeting after seeing a letter to Reuters parents .

Taiwan and Germany have already restricted the use of zoom, while SpaceX from Elon Musk has banned the app for security reasons. The company is also facing a class action lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for the Berkeley school district said it was possible that a password had been shared to allow the intrusion. However, she added that the entire Zoom district paused at least “a few days” to consider how video conferencing should be used and trained.

Corona virus locks have increased zoom usage, although concerns have increased about the lack of end-to-end encryption for meeting sessions, traffic routing through China, and zoom bombing when uninvited guests crash during meetings .

Zoom stock rose 3.8% in late trading on Wednesday after losing a third of its value in the past 10 days.

Zoom attracted users with its ease of use and free offer. Many schools around the world have started to use it for online classes as well.

In a series of tweets Here At the end of March, Stamos Zoom asked to be more transparent and to introduce a 30-day security plan. As a result, the founder and chief executive officer of the platform, Eric Yuan, asked him to become an external consultant.

“Zoom has some key roles in core application security, cryptographic design, and infrastructure security, and I’m looking forward to working with Zoom’s development teams on these projects,” Stamos, now associate professor at Stanford University, wrote in a blog post Medium.com/@alexstamos/working-on-security-and-safety-with-zoom-2f61f197cb34 on Wednesday. Stamos said on Twitter that he was a paid advisor to Zoom.

Brent Stephens, superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District, told Reuters that the teacher involved in Tuesday’s zoom incident had been trained in security measures and appeared to have used them. But a fraudster got access to the waiting room using a pseudonym that was close enough to a real name to outsmart the teacher who removed the intruder and reported the incident.

Stephens said the district is currently evaluating whether a competing Google product whose software the district uses for other functions could prevent similar incidents in the future.

“Instead of switching from one platform to another, we wanted to take a break,” said Stephens, “and not take the risk to the safety of the students.”

On Wednesday, Google announced that Zoom was removed from employees’ computers for security reasons. A Google spokesman said employees could continue to use the mobile and browser-based versions of Zoom.

To address security concerns, Zoom has embarked on a 90-day plan and formed a CISO Council to which HSBC’s Chief Information Security Officers (HSBA.L), NTT data (9613.T), Procore PCOR.N and Ellie Mae to discuss privacy, security and technology issues.

It has also set up a body to advise Yuan on privacy issues. The first members include VMware executives (VMW.N), Netflix (NFLX.O), About (UBER.N) and Electronic Arts (EA.O).

Zoom, which competes with that of Microsoft (MSFT.O) Teams and Cisco (CSCO.O) Webex saw daily users rise from 10 million to 200 million, and the stock hit a record high in March.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru, Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting to Raphael Satter in Washington; Edited by Peter Henderson, Marguerita Choy and Tom Brown

Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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