Elon Musk’s SpaceX bans Video conferencing app Zoom Zoom over privacy concerns -memo
Yesterday, we wrote about how video conferencing app Zoom sends encryption keys to China and potentially compromise the confidentiality of Zoom meetings. Many companies are now taking actions to ban their employees from using the popular teleconference app.
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, has reportedly banned its employees from using video conferencing app Zoom, citing “significant privacy and security concerns,” according to Reuters, citing a memo seen by the news agency. The announcement came days after U.S. law enforcement warned users about the security of the popular app.
In an email dated March 28, SpaceX told employees that all access to Zoom had been disabled with immediate effect. “We understand that many of us were using this tool for conferences and meeting support,” SpaceX said in the message. “Please use email, text or phone as alternate means of communication.”
SpaceX’s ban on Zoom Video Communications Inc illustrates the mounting challenges facing aerospace manufacturers as they develop technology deemed vital to national security while also trying to keep employees safe from the fast-spreading respiratory illness.
As we reported yesterday, cybersecurity researchers at the University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab found that Zoom app sends user data to China. The researchers said in their report that they have disclosed the vulnerability to Zoom but that “we are not currently providing public information about the issue to prevent it from being abused.”
The researchers advised Zoom users who desire confidentiality to avoid using waiting rooms and instead set passwords on meetings. That data includes encryption keys, the chunks of data that can unlock conversations, even if the participants aren’t based in China, the researchers found in their tests of the software.
Zoom later admits some calls were routed through China by mistake. Here is what Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan said: “During normal operations, Zoom clients attempt to connect to a series of primary datacenters in or near a user’s region, and if those multiple connection attempts fail due to network congestion or other issues, clients will reach out to two secondary datacenters off of a list of several secondary datacenters as a potential backup bridge to the Zoom platform. In all instances, Zoom clients are provided with a list of datacenters appropriate to their region. This system is critical to Zoom’s trademark reliability, particularly during times of massive internet stress.”