Video calls and web conferences have quickly become the new norm as we all find ourselves quarantined at home and working remotely. Although these tools can help keep us connected, they are also prime targets for hackers.
Zoom recently fell under scrutiny for its lack of security and privacy when users reported their video conferences were being hijacked. Hackers have posted hate speech and offensive images through this new form of harassment called Zoombombing.
The company’s CEO Eric Yuan attributed the platform’s security pitfalls to a surge in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Usage of Zoom has ballooned overnight – far surpassing what we expected when we first announced our desire to help in late February,” Yuan said. “To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.”
Yuan also apologized to Zoom users and announced the steps his team is taking to improve security and prevent these video hijacks from ever happening again. “We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations,” Yuan said. “For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it.”
In addition to implementing end-to-end encryption into the platform, Zoom is now requiring passwords for all meetings, waiting rooms will be turned on by default, and only hosts will be able to share their screens.
Though Zoombombing took a major toll on the platform’s reputation, Yuan handled the PR crisis the right way. He was honest about the severity of the situation, took responsibility, and, most importantly, he kept users apprised of the actions the company was taking to improve security measures.
He must have taken a que out of our playbook on crisis communications.