Zoom, a video conferencing application, has become very popular over the past few months due to the locking of coronavirus. But, it has received a lot of supervision because of privacy and security issues that directly affect its users. Now, Zoom is taking more steps to create a safer virtual environment with increased system-wide security and Galois / Counter Mode (GCM) encryption. The service has urged all users, through blog posts, to update applications and web clients before May 30 because GCM encryption will become mandatory for all meetings and will be activated throughout the system from the date.
Why Zoom needs to be updated
In a the blog post, Zoom explained that starting May 30, “GCM encryption will be fully activated for all meetings.” This states it all Zoom in client and Zoom Room must be version 5.0 or higher to join any meeting.
“On May 30, Zoom will cut all accounts to GCM encryption,” he added. Furthermore, it states that the desktop client and Room Zoom controller need to be updated. Support for enhanced GCM encryption was added with Zoom 5.0 in April and this will be implemented throughout the system from May 30.
A new green encryption protection icon will also be seen starting May 30, indicating that enhanced GCM encryption is enabled. With the final release of April 2007 Zoom version 5.0 The encryption shield at the top left of the Zoom meeting window has been added, and starting May 30, this icon will turn green. Clicking it will display a statistics page for additional encryption details. Now, Zoom has urged all its users to update to Zoom 5.0.
What is GCM encryption?
GCM or Galois / Counter Mode encryption is an algorithm for encrypting authenticated data that guarantees the authenticity of confidential data. This is the operation mode of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm which is built from 128-bit block sizes. Basically, GCM encryption provides a layer of protection for your data and resistance to interference.
With the Zoom 5.0 update, support for 256-bit GCM ACM encryption has been added. 256-bit encryption is much stronger than 128-bit because the larger key size (256 vs 128) has a higher chance of staying safe. This means that if someone tries to hack encrypted data, 256-bit encrypted data will take longer to crack.
Other Zoom enhancements and features to come
This 256-bit AES GCM encryption will be activated throughout the system from May 30 on Zoom and users must update clients and applications to join the meeting. The security icon in a meeting will make it easy for the host to lock / open the meeting, activate / deactivate the waiting room, enable / disable chat in meetings, enable / disable changing the participant’s name, enable / disable screen sharing, delete participants, and report participants. Specifically, this option is available in Zoom 5.0.
Zoom blog also shows some upcoming improvements including showing non-video participants via their avatars by default and turning off call history by default. On June 30, enhanced encryption between the Zoom Room controller and Zoom Room will be activated. Zoom Room Controller which does not have version 5.0 recommended or higher will stop functioning.
This happens when a large number of people rely on video conferencing tools for communication because they are locked up in their homes during locking. Increasing security and making efforts to develop a safer platform is always a plus, but the real-world implications of these enhanced security measures remain to be seen. Zoom users can update to the latest version by heading to website or heading to Play Store or Application store for mobile applications.
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