Wednesday 1 April 2020 10:59 am

Zoom under scrutiny as popularity skyrockets during coronavirus crisis

Videoconferencing app Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny over its security as its popularity skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Attorney General Letitia James reportedly wrote to Zoom raising concerns over its ability to cope with the sharp increase in users.

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The app is being used by millions of people for work calls and socialising but its data security and privacy measures have been called into question.

James asked Zoom whether it had reviewed its security since the surge in popularity as governments imposed lockdowns, and her office noted the app had been slow to address issues in the past.

The firm told the BBC:  “Zoom takes its users’ privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously.”

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are working around-the-clock to ensure that hospitals, universities, schools, and other businesses across the world can stay connected and operational. We appreciate the New York Attorney General’s engagement on these issues and are happy to provide her with the requested information,” it added.

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Users have flocked to videoconferencing apps as governments impose lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Video app Houseparty has also received a surge in activity although the online rumour mill went into overdrive earlier this week, as social media users alleged their email, Spotify and Netflix accounts had been hacked after downloading the app.

The video chat app said it was offering a $1m (£809,000) reward for any evidence the company had been targeted by a commercial smear campaign yesterday.

Boris Johnson raised security concerns yesterday when he tweeted a picture of a virtual cabinet meeting but did not remove the meeting ID number.

The Prime Minister, who is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus, joined his team for the first digital Cabinet meeting via Zoom.

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It sparked speculation that the public would be able to dial into the meeting and contact Cabinet ministers personally.

Zoom was contacted for comment.

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