There's more grief for Zoom - the video chat platform that's become wildly popular during Covid-19 lockdowns around the world, but constantly dogged by privacy and security problems.
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Schools in New York City are moving away from using the video conference app Zoom after a review of security concerns, CNN reports.
The city's Department of Education is directing schools to "move away from using Zoom as soon as possible," Danielle Filson, a department spokeswoman, told the broadcaster earlier today.
Students and staff will be transitioning to Microsoft Teams, which has "the same capabilities with appropriate security measures in place," Filson said.
Here, a Ministry of Education spokesman said an update on video chat services would be delivered to schools by the end of this week.
"We are preparing advice for all schools and kura on a number of commonly used video chat platforms chosen by schools, that are likely to be used in learning from home situations, which includes Zoom, Google Meet/Hangout, Microsoft Teams and others," she said.
In the US, the process of "Zoomboming" - or gatecrashing a Zoom video chat session, often with pornographic or racist content - has become so prevalent in virtual classroom situations that the FBI recently issued an alert warning educators about the platform.
And Zoom has also copped flak from Citizen Lab, a research group within the University of Toronto, which says it has found a major security bug with it waiting room function. Citizen Lab says Zoom's custom encryption has "identifiable weaknesses" and is not suitable for keeping government secrets.
Zoom was used for the first virtual New Zealand cabinet meeting, sparking criticism from security expert Daniel Ayers.
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Ayers said Zoom did not in fact offer the end-to-end encryption that it claimed (and which the government's security manual requires for the discussion of restricted information over the internet); had suffered multiple security and privacy glitches; and that cabinet's use of the platform (which has R&D and servers in China) sat uneasily with its ban on Huawei.
On Friday NZT, Zoom released a statement that began, "We want to start by apologising for the confusion we have caused by incorrectly suggesting that Zoom meetings were capable of using end-to-end encryption."
The Nasdaq-listed company's founder and chief executive Eric Yuan said , "We recognise that we have fallen short of the community's – and our own – privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry."
The company increased its bug bounties (cash rewards for those who report flaws in its security) and Yuan said over the next 90 days its development team would focus exclusively on tightening Zoom's privacy and security.
Ardern said earlier that cabinet was cognisant of the fact the GCSB had advised Zoom be used only to discuss information up to the "restricted" grade.
The NZ government continues to use Zoom, but on Friday a GCSB spokesman told the Herald that new, clarified guidelines have now been sent to public servants who use the platform.
Zoom safety tips
1. Don't record your Zoom chat. It's the easiest way to protect yourself.
2. If you do record a Zoom chat, re-name the file from the Zoom default. Call it something that doesn't indicate it's a Zoom video call.
3. Only upload a saved Zoom video to services, such as Dropbox, or YouTube, where you have a private account enabled.
4. Don't publicly share your Zoom Meeting ID. Send it directly to the people you want on the call. Set a password to join the meeting and only share it with those who need to know.
5. Make sure [screen sharing is set to host-only to prevent Zoom-bombing or other participants from hijacking the meeting with random images.
6. Use the waiting room feature. It prevents new participants from joining the call until the host approves. That prevents another form of Zoom-bombing - unknown people crashing a meeting.
The Covid-19 crisis has cast a spotlight on Zoom, a company founded nine years ago by its CEO Eric Yuan, now 50, after he defected from US company Cisco Systems and took about 40 engineers with him.
Yuan wanted to refine a concept he first dreamed up during the 1990s as a college student in China, when he dreaded the 10-hour train trips to see his then-girlfriend, now his wife.
Now Zoom is booming, just 11 months after it made its debut on the stock market. While the Standard & Poor's 500 index has fallen by 25 per cent since its record high on February 19, Zoom's stock has soared around 46 per cent as investors bet on its service becoming a mainstream staple in life after the coronavirus.