As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the globe, various individuals and organizations have had to rely on video conferencing. This has become an essential communication prop with most countries enforcing lockdown and the WHO clamoring for the need for social distancing.
In this period of prolonged lockdown necessitated by the pandemic crisis, the Zoom video conferencing app has become a highly popular means by which individuals and groups of people keep in touch.
Notably, Zoom makes use of blockchain technology to enable business relationships, plan projects, and transact secure payments. Moreover, it can utilize a blockchain ID system, artificial intelligence, and smart contracts to enable connectivity.
The quick rise in popularity of Zoom, however, has raised the debate over how secure the app is as video calls have been regarded as one of the leading causes of most hacks.
Is Zoom the right choice?
Zoom has been facing major challenges in the areas of data leaks and calls hijacking. Recently, it had to make changes to its iPhone and iPad apps to stop Facebook from collecting user data. And last year, it had performed a fix to a problem that allowed websites to turn on Mac users’ cameras without permission.
Other crucial Zoom problems include the Zoom bombing that results from the random hijack of a meeting. Also, there is automated “war dialer” tools, written to brute force valid meeting codes, allowing for more Zoom bombing. Additionally, several experts have pointed out it takes an average of 196 days to identify a data breach on the platform.
The video conferencing app has noted that several measures were in place to prevent further occurrence of such problems.
Firstly, end-to-end encryption which protects messages and calls sent with the receiving user’s public key that can only be unlocked by the user’s private key.
Incidentally, instead of using general end-to-end encryption, Zoom uses the AES-256 ECB method of encryption. It shares the key used to encrypt calls with Zoom’s servers around the globe. This potentially giving them full access to the audio and video streams. However, the company has stated no user content was available to its employees or servers once encrypted.
Zoom noted the addition of a privacy lens cover could ensure criminals can’t hack and see through your webcam. Also, the platform has implemented password-protecting of meetings by default. Another new feature is the waiting room which allows the host to select who can enter a meeting. Moreover, users can now choose which data centers the call will be routed through.
According to the platform, this would invariably increase the safety of app usage and also promised additional security enhancements to the latest version 5.0.
Alternative video conferencing platform
In place of Zoom, several apps have emerged as alternative video communication platforms.
- Cisco WebEx, web conferencing, and videoconferencing applications. As well as live video and recordings, it offers screen sharing feature for real-time collaboration to an online meeting.
- Skype has been the go-to platform for one-on-one conversations since its launch in 2003. Additionally, users can avail of Microsoft’s enterprise instant messaging software -Skype for Business. It is designed to bring together chats, files, and apps in an integrated app.
- Google Duo, which is similar to Apple’s FaceTime, WhatsApp, and Skype, works across both iOS and Android devices. It offers end-to-end encryption, and the “Knock Knock” feature that allows users to see a live video of the caller before accepting their calls.
All these apps have effectively resulted in high demands of optimum quality of network connectivity. Notably, NKN (New Kind of Network) has made progress in offering innovative peer-to-peer network connectivity systems powered by blockchain. As a result, it can enable internet users to seamlessly share network connections and make the most of any unused bandwidth.
The fact is that no current video communication app is 100% safe and secure. But some offer a more reliable and secure program that can be embraced and used during this social distancing period.
Notably, Zoom has promised a more secure end-to-end encryption, that only the receiver and center can access. In view of this, the video conferencing app recently acquired Keybase, an end-to-end encryption firm.
It is pertinent to note here that finding a blockchain technology solution to drive innovation has become quite common, especially as the world faces unprecedented restrictions and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.