As people look for ways to teleconference during the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan has joined Elon Musk’s SpaceX and New York City’s Department of Education in barring all official use of Zoom, becoming one of the first governments to impose an outright ban on the popular video-conferencing app over mounting security concerns.
Taiwan’s ban is the latest blow to San Jose-based Zoom Video Communications Inc. as it struggles to cope with an explosion in demand for its services. Millions of people have turned to the app as they work and study from home amid the global lockdown. But cybersecurity researchers have warned that security loopholes in the software could allow hackers to eavesdrop on meetings or commandeer machines to access secure files, and traffic from some users has been routed through data centers in China.
“The rapid uptake of teleconference platforms such as Zoom, without proper vetting, potentially puts trade secrets, state secrets, and human rights defenders at risk,” researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab wrote.
Zoom routed data through servers in China and used developers there, Citizen Lab said in its report last week. Any official data being routed through China poses a major risk for Taiwan. Beijing claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory, and threatens to invade if Taiwan moves to make its independence official. Taiwan’s government rejects China’s claim, viewing the island as a sovereign nation.
MacDailyNews Take: Zoom is a toy*.
*Zoom is not for mission-critical use. It’s not secure.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]