Security Experts:

Zoom Acquires Keybase to Bring End-to-End Encryption to Video Platform

Popular communications platform provider Zoom Video announced on Thursday that it has acquired secure messaging and file-sharing service Keybase for an undisclosed sum. The move is the latest by the company as it attempts to bolster the security of its offerings and build in end-to-end encryption that can scale to the company’s massive user base.

“There are en-to-end encrypted communications platforms. There are communications platforms with easily deployable security. There are enterprise-scale communications platforms. We believe that no current platform offers all of these. This is what Zoom plans to build, giving our users security, ease of use, and scale, all at once,” Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, said in a statement.

Zoom said it would offer an end-to-end encrypted meeting mode to all paid accounts. 

Zoom’s popularity has skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, but that popularity has also attracted the attention of many cybersecurity experts, who have identified numerous security and privacy issues. Zoom’s popularity has also attracted hackers, who have been abusing security weaknesses to join meetings and make threats, show pornographic images, or shout profanities and other offensive messages.

The company also came under fire when researchers discovered that keys used to encrypt and decrypt meetings were sometimes sent to servers in China, even if all participants were located in other countries.

In late April, the company announced a series of security improvements designed to address many of the concerns raised recently.

The company also tapped former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos as an advisor, and has teamed up with Luta Security to revamp its bug bounty program.

Zoom also created a CISO Council to advise Yuan on security, which includes CISOs from several companies, including NTT Data, HSBC, Ellie Mae, and Procore. 

“This acquisition marks a key step for Zoom as we attempt to accomplish the creation of a truly private video communications platform that can scale to hundreds of millions of participants, while also having the flexibility to support Zoom’s wide variety of uses,” Yuan wrote in a blog post. “Our goal is to provide the most privacy possible for every use case, while also balancing the needs of our users and our commitment to preventing harmful behavior on our platform. Keybase’s experienced team will be a critical part of this mission.” 

Details on Zoom’s encryption roadmap are available on the Zoom blog.

Related: Zoom's Security and Privacy Woes Violated GDPR, Expert Says

Related: Keys Used to Encrypt Zoom Meetings Sent to China

Related: Trojanized Zoom Apps Target Remote Workers

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.