Zoom: Room for Improvements and Hardly a Joke

April 1, 2020

Yesterday a former CEO asked me, “Who is this Ben guy?” The question was in bounds. Since I signed up for Zoom three or four years ago, I sniffed the Silicon Valley outfit and learned that there was some smart money from the Middle Kingdom supporting the operation. Further poking around revealed mixed signals about security. Despite the nice looking interface, some effort was taken years ago to omit, obscure, or misdirect one’s attention from some basic functions. Then there was icon litter. There’s the lack of statefulness when one leaves a meeting from the Zoom Web site to an instant meeting on a user’s computer. There are other oddities if not efforts to do a digital magician’s trick.

The Facebook data thing has been publicly exposed, and allegedly Zoom has cleaned up its act. The Zoom bombs featuring people exposed some individuals who follow the dress code of Adam and Eve have been revealed.

I spotted “Zoom Meetings Aren’t End to End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing.” News on March 31, 2020. Not exactly a revelation to our Ben fellow, but the information is now public:

Zoom is using its own definition of the term, one that lets Zoom itself access unencrypted video and audio from meetings.

Now where does that information go? Maybe the Middle Kingdom?

Ben’s Zoom set up involves:

  • A prepaid credit card which is used to pay for the “pro” service
  • An email created just for Zoom
  • A network separated Mac Mini just for video conferences
  • A hot spot so that traffic flows through a pre paid service, not DarkCyber’s regular provider
  • No use of Zoom cloud recording
  • Turn off anything that allows an attendee to fiddle around
  • Ignore in meeting message functions.

Not perfect but for those students who had a bit of a surprise when Zoom bombed, our approach has prevented this type of revelation.

Stephen E Arnold, April 1, 2020


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