Zoom, in a bid to provide end-to-end encryption to its paid users, is acquiring
secure messaging and file-sharing company Keybase.
Keybase staff will essentially help Zoom build an end-to-end encryption system
for the company?s video conferencing service, which will be available to paid
The acquisition, confirmed by both companies, occur weeks after?Zoom admitted?it
actually wasn?t offering full encryption as previously advertised. The video
conferencing service does encrypt your video sessions. However, the main flaw
with Zoom?s system is how the encryption keys are generated and stored on the
company?s servers. Although Zoom says it?s never mishandled the keys, by holding
on to them, the company theoretically has the power to decrypt your video
sessions, or transfer the keys to someone else, like a government authority.
To fix this, Zoom is creating an end-to-end system that will generate the
encryption keys to video sessions from the meeting host?s computer ? not from a
company server. ?This key will be distributed between clients, enveloped with
the asymmetric keypairs and rotated when there are significant changes to the
list of attendees,? the company confirmed as part of ablog post announcing the
?The cryptographic secrets will be under the control of the host, and the host?s
client software will decide what devices are allowed to receive meeting keys,
and thereby join the meeting.?
Building an encryption system isn?t easy though and that?s why Zoom thought it
wise to bring Keybase into the picture. Keybase, a company that was founded in
2014 and is based out of New York, has been offering its own end-to-end
encrypted chat system, which works on PCs and smartphones.
Zoom plans on publishing more details about the end-to-end encryption
implementation on 22nd May, with the goal of getting feedback from the security
community and customers.
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