Google has advised its employees to stop using Zoom, the teleconferencing service, on company-issued devices, BuzzFeed News reports.
The company emailed employees that had Zoom’s desktop app installed on their computers, advising them that Zoom did not meet the company’s security protocols and would be blocked by company servers starting this week.
“We have long had a policy of not allowing employees to use unapproved apps for work that are outside of our corporate network,” Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda tells The Verge. “Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees. Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile.”
For many, Zoom has served as a lifeline to connect with others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially a conferencing tool targeted for use by B2B companies, Zoom has made its mark outside of the office, becoming a common meeting place for virtual Passover Seder dinners and fitness classes.
But its time in the spotlight has also exposed a series of security vulnerabilities, including unauthorized data transmission from the app to Facebook and the routing of encryption keys through Chinese servers. Some companies, including SpaceX, have already banned its employees from using the app on company computers. Government entities have also been concerned with security issues on Zoom.
Since Zoom has emerged as a leading teleconferencing provider during the pandemic, however, the platform’s litany of other issues have been magnified, especially around the ease with which random strangers can locate and jump into Zoom calls. The practice is now known as “Zoombombing,” and the FBI says it will prosecute people for it. Part of the reason is due to Zoom never having been designed for consumer use at this scale; the company said earlier this month that it grew from 10 million to 200 million users in the past three months.
Other issues have included exposed Zoom recordings, undisclosed data sharing with Facebook, exposed LinkedIn profiles, and a “malware-like” installer for macOS. The company now faces a full-blown privacy and security backlash. Zoom has responded by racing to plug holes and beef up its consumer and corporate protections to stave off stiff competition from Microsoft Teams and Skype, Google’s G Suite apps, and other more traditional teleconferencing providers. Zoom said earlier this month that it would pause new features for 90 days to focus on privacy and security.