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Zoom’s latest software upgrade aims to defuse ‘zoombombing’

Jumping from 10 million users in December to 200 million just a few months later clearly took Zoom by surprise as the surge in usage surfaced a number of privacy- and security-related issues with the software.

Keen to retain the workers, learners, and friends that turned to the videoconferencing platform after the coronavirus forced them to connect from home, Zoom this week unveiled a comprehensive update designed to address many of the issues that put it in the firing line.

Some of the features have actually been added in recent weeks, but version 5.0 gives users all of the new features, and more, in one single download.

The update includes, for example, a new icon in the meeting menu bar on the host’s interface, bringing all of Zoom’s security features into one easily accessible location. Before, many of Zoom’s security options were buried in sub-menus, making them hard to find, so the new, single security section will be a welcome addition. It means you’ll be able to quickly report a user, remove participants from meetings, and lock meetings, which should help to cut down on so-called “zoombombing” incidents, where pranksters interrupt meetings with offensive material. Such incidents caused trust in Zoom to take a dive, prompting the company to act.

Enabling passwords by default — another security improvement — is also geared toward eradicating zoombombing.

The update also brings improved encryption for enhanced privacy, though it isn’t quite the end-to-end encryption that the company earlier claimed the software offered. According to Zoom, the upgrade to the AES 256-bit GCM encryption standard will bring increased protection against tampering and also of meeting data in transit.

Another change worth mentioning is the ability for the account administrator to choose which data center locations handle their meetings, a feature aimed primarily at business customers dealing with sensitive information.

For the full list of improvements, check out Zoom’s blog post.

Zoom says Version 5.0 will be available this week, which means it should start showing on the company’s download page on Thursday or Friday.

If Zoom’s upgrade fails to impress, check out Digital Trends’ suggestions for other videoconferencing software that may fit your needs.

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Trevor Mogg
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