Govt issues Warning and Advisory on usage of Zoom platform | Not safe for private users

Govt issues Warning and Advisory on usage of Zoom platform | Not safe for private users

Government of India issues warning and advisory on private and individual use of Zoom platform | Zoom CEO had accepted the missteps
Govt issues Warning and Advisory on usage of Zoom platform | Not safe for private users
Risk is more on the host machine | Correct settings mitigage the Risk

The rising use of Zoom online meeting platform has been cited as dangerous as per a Government of India advisory via the Ministry of Home Affairs today.

Online meeting and webinar platforms have seen an unprecedented rise in usage over the last couple of months, with the COVID outbreak.  While business have shut down in most places, many companies across the globe have gone in for the work from home model, establishing the use of such platforms for online meetings.  Educational institutions across the globe, be it universities or schools are using the platform for continuing the classes or faculty and administrative meetings.  Private tuition centers are also using such platforms widely.

Zoom is one such platform that is being widely used, by corporate and educators, in India and also such in Udaipur. Hundreds of professionals in Udaipur and hundreds of thousands across India are using this app, either for meetings or for delivering lectures/classes.

Today, the Government of India, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, issued a warning by CyCord (Cyber Coordination Centre) of the GoI, warning private users against using the Zoom app.  This comes as a follow-up of an earlier advisory by CERT-in (Computer Emergency Response Team of India) that cautioned against the cyber vulnerability of Zoom app.  While the government officials were asked to restrict their usage to the NIC platform for online communication, this advisory and warning is for the private users of Zoom.

While warning that the App is dangerous as users machine data could be compromised in a big manner, it also comes with advisory on how to use the App in such a manner so as to minimize the risk.

We moved too fast… and we had some missteps… we have learnt our lessons and bwe have taken steps to focus on privacy and security.” - Zoom CEO, Eric S Yuan, in an interview to CNN last week

The advisory talks about certain guidelines that prevent unauthorized entry in the virtual conference room, preventing unauthorized participants from carrying out malicious activity on the terminal of others (using DOS attacks – a Denial Of Service attack is done by hackers to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended user).

Earlier, the CERT-in team had warned that unguarded use of the platform can make a users machine vulnerable to cyber attacks, including leakage of sensitive information to criminals.  Two of the most popular apps being used in lockdown times, are Zoom and TikTok. And both have their servers located in China.

Read through this link to understand more on the settings you would need to do to mitigate the risks of using Zoom.

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