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Security & privacy

What you need to know about this must-have security setting coming to Zoom

Zoom has been booming in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and even now, it’s still the number one video conferencing platform for businesses on the web. While its competitors from Google, Microsoft and Facebook may have some features and options Zoom lacks, the platform still dominates thanks to its easy-to-use design and layout.

But what Zoom may have in terms of accessibility, it lacked several key security components such as end-to-end encryption for calls right off the bat. That appeared to be changing in an upcoming update, but the company announced that it planned to leave its newest security features out for free users. Tap or click here to see the rationale behind this decision.

But in a stunning reversal, Zoom has apparently decided to give everyone using its platform access to end-to-end encryption, with no need to sign up for a paid account. Here’s what you need to know about this critical new update.

Zoom sees the light, realizes security is more important than profit

In a stark backtrack from earlier statements by CEO Eric Yuan, Zoom announced in a new blog post that it would be bringing end-to-end encryption for all Zoom users in a forthcoming update.

And when we say all, we mean all users. Previously, Zoom announced that it would be nixing the new security feature for free users of the platform, which caused a backlash on social media with many vowing to switch platforms rather than take this snub lying down.

According to Zoom, encryption will be added as part of a soon-to-be-released beta version scheduled for July. It will be presented as a per-meeting option for administrators to enable, as well as a company-wide feature for business users to activate.

Now, when making calls, you won’t have to worry about nosy hackers and cybercriminals hearing sensitive internal dialogue about business matters. Your calls will be for you and your colleagues alone. Tap or click here to see some of the security issues Zoom was criticized for.

How do I set up end-to-end encryption in my Zoom calls?

Unfortunately for newcomers, Zoom won’t be enabling end-to-end encryption for calls by default. It has to be activated on a per-call basis, which means that administrators will have to pay close attention before starting a call in the first place.

The reason: Yuan claims that enabling the feature by default will cause problems for those who log into the service using telephone broadband or dial-up. Rather than force a “one-size-fits-all” solution that makes nobody happy, Zoom would prefer to leave the feature as something to opt-in to.

If you plan on hosting Zoom calls in the future, you’ll see an option in the waiting room where you can toggle the feature on. You will need to have signed up for Zoom with an account rather than log in as a guest, so make sure you’ve done that before the update arrives.

Since we don’t know exactly how the menu layout will change in the future, we’ll be updating this story once the update arrives to give you detailed instructions on enabling end-to-end encryption.

From what we can gather, it seems like the social media backlash to Zoom’s short-sighted plans was enough to get the company to change direction. We hope Zoom continues down this course going forward. Otherwise, Google Meet might be getting quite a bit more members in the near future. Tap or click here to see why Google Meet is now free for everyone.

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