Zoom will launch end-to-end encryption starting next week. Free and paid users will be able to accommodate up to 200 participants in the end-to-end encryption (E2EE) meeting on the video conferencing platform. Zoom stated that the feature will initially be available as a technology preview, so users can provide feedback to the company within the first 30 days. This is the first phase of a four-phase process for end-to-end encryption deployment. Zoom said it plans to launch the second phase in 2021, which will include better identity management and end-to-end encryption with single sign-on integration.
Although Zoom has flourished during the pandemic and more and more users rely on virtual communication modes, its security has also been criticized. End-to-end encryption is an effort to make the platform more secure.
Previously, Zoom would generate encryption keys and distribute them to participants. Now, through end-to-end encryption, meeting hosts can generate encryption keys and use public key cryptography to distribute these keys to other meeting participants. Zoom said in a blog post that it still uses the same GCM encryption; the difference is where these encryption keys are located.
Enabling end-to-end encryption in the current version of Zoom will disable certain features, such as host first join, cloud recording, streaming, real-time transcription, breakout room, polling, 1:1 private chat and meeting response.
To verify that the meeting is using end-to-end encryption, users can look for a green shield logo with a padlock in the middle. It is located in the upper left corner of the meeting screen and indicates that the meeting is using E2EE. Participants can also see the security code of the person in charge of the meeting. If the numbers on everyone’s screen are the same, it means that the Zoom meeting has been encrypted end-to-end.
Zoom announced its plan earlier this year to introduce end-to-end encryption for paying users. To this end, Zoom expressed strong opposition and will provide all users with the “highest level of security.” However, free users must use a verification process to use end-to-end encryption.
How to use end-to-end encryption
For user end-to-end encryption, users will be required to enable E2EE meetings at the account level and choose to join E2EE before the meeting. The meeting host can enable end-to-end encryption settings at the account, group and user levels, and can be locked at the account or group level. To participate in an E2EE conference, all participants must enable this setting.
In the first phase of the ongoing end-to-end encryption, Zoom stated that all meeting participants must join the E2EE meeting from the Zoom desktop client, mobile application or Zoom Room.
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