Zoom 5.0 is available today. Should you update?

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The controversial video conferencing app which came into prominence during the early days of COVID-19 social distancing and travel restrictions has now released an updated version of its app with enhanced security features to address the widespread privacy and security concerns of its users. 

After a month of criticism, a guaranteed update for Zoom has come with more than 17 enhancements, introducing more powerful encryption plus solutions for a number of past concerns with the platform, including “Zoombombing.”

Zoom has been most people’s preference for video conferencing during the coronavirus but has been plagued by privacy and security concerns since its rise in popularity. Zoom said it’s fixed some of those issues.

The new Zoom 5.0 update, for example, introduces AES 256-bit GCM encryption, which the company says will contribute to “increased protection” of data in transition and protection against tampering.

Previously, Zoom was accused of misleading customers about end-to-end encryption claims. Even though Zoom says its GCM encryption upgrade is better, it’s still reluctant to claim it’s end-to-end encrypted.

To combat the so-called “Zoombombing” phenomenon, which includes rogue users joining a meeting they weren’t invited to, Zoom has introduced some room control features, such as the ability to remove and ban participants, lock meetings, report users and enable waiting rooms when a meeting is underway.

Other security and privacy features include a new grouped security menu, default password-protected meetings, and the removal of meeting IDs from the Zoom interface so it’ll be harder for callers to leak them.

Although formerly intended for an April 22 release, the Zoom 5.0 update was deferred until April 29. The company said it’s the first milestone in a more comprehensive “90-day plan” to revamp the platform’s security and privacy measures. All users will be required to have GCM encryption and Zoom 5.0 to join meetings on May 30.


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