Zoom to School

Zoom+to+School

Christina Nassar, Staff Writer

     Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic led schools, companies, and organizations to close, people have had to find alternative ways to communicate, get education, and get work done. For most people, the new go-to alternative for most people has been Zoom.
     Zoom is an amazing app and a website that provides video and chat service that was founded on April 21, 2011. However, this company has only become popular recently due to the need for a platform that provides services that allow people to continue socializing and working during this pandemic.
     However, recent activities have raised the question of whether Zoom is a safe platform for schools?
     A number of meetings on zoom have been hijacked by intruders. Those intruders interrupt meetings and posting hate speech and pornography on the video call, with no way for anyone in the meeting to stop it. At one point the hijackers became so frequent that they gave them a name: Zoombombing.
     Zoom Bombers have disrupted a variety of meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, highschool meetings, and Sunday school meetings.
     Most of these Zoombombings were initiated as pranks, which were planned on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Reddit, where people share meetings’ identification numbers and passwords.
       This has led major companies such as Google, NASA, SpaceX, and even the Taiwanese government to ban employees from using Zoom for security reasons. Some school districts such as the districts in  New York City also banned the use of Zoom for their students’ safety.
     Theses Zoombombings have led to a number of backlash against the company, and at some point, they were sued.
     The concern from school, companies, and other users is undeniably justifiable, especially during this pandemic when people do not need the stress of security and safe access to communication devices.
     But Zoom did not ignore these problems, and has addressed the privacy issues and worked to fix them. The company worked on a 90-day feature freeze to fix privacy and security issues and came out with an updated and safer Zoom 5.0 on April 27. This version has upgraded to the AES 256-bit GCM encryption standard, which offers increased protection of meeting data in transit and resistance against tampering. It also added other security futures such as complete control to the hosts and shorter passwords.
      Zoom was also able to work with other social media platforms to stop the sharing of meetings IDs and passwords, which was the main reason Zoombombings were happening.
     All the bug fixes, updating, and effort put into preventing future problems in Zoom, make it safe to be used for school meetings with no threats of Zoombombing and lack of security.
     And Despite all this backlash, Zoom has reported 300 million daily users, and are hoping that the numbers increase after they fixed the problem.
     Although Zoom did not make a good first impression during this pandemic, it has worked to fix its issues and prevent Zoombombings. It also became more transparent to its users and conducted weekly webinars about security.
     The effort Zoom has put into fixing the problems and preventing future problems should be appreciated, especially since it gives people a perfect platform for everyone to use during these devastating times. The company has even offered many companies and school free trials, so they can have all the resources they need to get through this pandemic.
    However, if you are still skeptical about using Zoom for meetings, especially in school, then there are other resources such as Google Duo, GoGardeann.com, Microsoft teams, and more.