COVID-19: Google Bans its Employees from Using Zoom App on Official Devices Due to Rising Security Concerns

April 10, 2020
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The backlash of Zoom’s privacy and security failures continues as tech giant, Google has issued a ban on the use of Zoom teleconferencing platform by its employees.

Speaking on the ban, Google Spokesperson, Jose Casteneda said that the company’s security team has discovered that Zoom doesn’t meet its security standards for apps used by its employees. He added that they had a long-standing policy not to allow employees use unapproved apps.

“We have long had a policy of not allowing employees to use unapproved apps for work that are outside of our corporate network. Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees. Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile.”

-Jose Casteneda, Google Spokesperson

Google had earlier emailed employees last week about the ban, informing them that the Zoom app would no longer function on their Google-provided machines.

Rising Privacy concerns

Since Zoom became one of the most popular services for free video chatting and teleconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform has been plagued with several privacy and security issues.

Weeks ago, we reported that Zoom finally blocked codes in its ios app which were sending users location and device specs to Facebook. This was after a Motherboard analysis of the Zoom app revealed that a Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK) integrated into the app sent information to Facebook.

Similarly, we recently reported that Zoom had to apologize for incorrectly suggesting that its platform guarantees end-to-end encryption of communication. There were also reports that the platform was forced to update its privacy terms because of a report which showed that the old terms gave Zoom the power to obtain and use information for targeted advertising.

However, that’s not all as Zoom has also fallen into scrutiny for a litany of other issues especially around “Zoombombing,” a practice where random strangers locate and jump into Zoom calls.

Some other issues have included exposed Zoom recordings, exposed LinkedIn profiles, and a “malware-like” installer for macOS.

These security lapses are emerging because more and more researchers are beginning to test the platform’s sturdiness as its adoption continues to spike due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. According to the company, users of the Zoom app grew from 10 million to 200 million users in the past three months.

Mounting Privacy and Security backlash

Due to the recent discoveries the company now faces a full-blown privacy and security backlash. Days ago, schools in New York and Nevada banned the use of Zoom app to conduct virtual class.

SpaceX and most recently Google has also banned the use of the Zoom app.

Following the privacy concerns, Zoom’s stock dropped as much as 14.5%. Before the drop, the company’s market cap rose as high as $42 billion due to the high influx of users.

Zoom has responded to the issues saying it takes users privacy and security extremely seriously. The company has been working round the clock to plug holes and strengthen its consumer and corporate protections. It announced earlier this month that it would pause new features for 90 days to focus on privacy and security.

As Zoom races to sooth major concerns, major competitors like
Microsoft Teams, Skype and Google’s G Suite apps will continue to gain from Zoom’s crisis until its sorted.

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