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Company of the Year: How Zoom overcame security flaws in 2020

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How Zoom's improved security led to it being named Yahoo Finance's Company of the Year.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- When the popularity of Zoom rose due to the influx of so many people working from home, security concerns within the platform were immediately placed in the spotlight. New customers making use of the app in ways that didn't involve a traditional enterprise it support structure introduced a host of security issues that the company hadn't anticipated. And the most well-known phenomenon, called Zoom Bombing, proved to be especially troublesome.

Zoom Bombing, or as Zoom refers to them, meeting disruption's, involves unwelcome users joining Zoom chats and being generally obnoxious by shouting curses or posting inappropriate images. The issue, along with reports that Zoom was routing some of its calls through China, made many large companies and customers hesitate in continuing to use the service.

JANINE PELOSI: We have use cases that we had not seen before. New brand new use cases for the product, and those might require different setups, right? Things that maybe were a optional feature we may default now.

- In April, New York City Schools, the largest public system in the country, pulled Zoom support for its 1.1 million students. More worrying was the fact that while Zoom advertised the use of end-to-end encryption in its video services, it in fact was not using the protocol. That prompted an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission alleging false advertising on Zoom's part.

As a result, on April 1st Zoom announced that it was halting work on all features unrelated to security for 90 days. The changes implemented during the pause included turning passcodes and meeting waiting rooms on by default. They were previously turned off. And a new security interface panel that made the service more secure for the average user. Users are also now able to select where their calls are routed.

APARNA BAWA: We worked with lots of third party experts, and in fact, we created a SISO council with about 35 SISOs of leading companies across the industry, across, you know, all of-- all industry, if you will, to focus on how we can improve our products and our policies around security. And finally, we've done some tremendous hiring, if I do say so myself.

- Zoom also moved to purchase the encryption firm Keybase to establish full end-to-end encryption for the service which went into effect in October. Despite the blowback, Zoom stock price, which topped out at $151.70 in late March just as the controversy was taking off, recovered by late April and has since earned its spot as Yahoo Finance's Company of the Year for 2020.