Zoom's end-to-end encryption feature now available to users globally

2020-10-27

Zoom has added end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to its service, and is rolling the new feature out to free and paying users globally.

The company said that it is adding the new feature as a technical preview, in an effort to make meetings and video chats much more secure than previous iterations of the platform.

'Starting today, E2EE is available on Zoom desktop client version 5.4.0 for Mac and PC, the Zoom Android app, and Zoom Rooms, with the Zoom iOS app pending Apple App Store approval,' the company said.

It added that E2EE feature will use the same 256-bit AES-GCM encryption which is used to secure Zoom meetings.

'When users enable E2EE for their meetings, nobody except each participant - not even Zoom's meeting servers - has access to the encryption keys that are used to encrypt the meeting.'

The new feature will be available for meetings with up to 200 participants.

To activate E2EE, users will need to manually turn it on in their settings. A green shield icon in the top left of the call will indicate that the feature is active.

However, turning the feature on will disable a few others, including live transcription, join-before-host, streaming, cloud recording, 1:1 private chat and Breakout Rooms.

Zoom said that this is just the first phase of the rollout and that it plans to launch improved identity management and E2EE single sign-on integration in the next phase.

Zoom hopes to receive users' feedback about their experiences with E2EE during the next 30 days.

The company announced that it was planning to add support for E2EE in May, but only for the paying users. Many users criticised the company for the decision, eventually forcing Zoom to backtrack. The company later announced that E2EE feature would be made available to all users.

Zoom's popularity reached new heights amid the coronavirus pandemic, which forced millions of people across the world to work from their homes. However, the spike in usage also led to increased attention being paid to the company's security practices.

In April, a user filed a class-action lawsuit against Zoom in the US, accusing the company of disclosing users' data to Facebook without receiving prior consent from users.

The company later promised to users that it would resolve security and privacy issues in its video-conferencing service.

"I am committed to being open and honest with you about areas where we are strengthening our platform and areas where users can take steps of their own to best use and protect themselves on the platform," Eric Yuan, the founder and CEO of the company, .

"Our chief concern, now and always, is making users happy and ensuring that the safety, privacy, and security of our platform is worthy of the trust you all have put in us."