The popular Zoom video conferencing app that has been attracting skyrocketing user base amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation has reportedly acquired Keybase Inc, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed encrypted-chat startup. The development will help Zoom to implement end-to-end encryption for its video meetings – considering it a very need of the hour.
Last month, Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom unveiled plans about making Zoom video meetings more secure for the people, but the added that the development will take months.
Ketbase is a New York-based company that has built an end-to-end encrypted messaging platform. The company claims that messages are encrypted before they pass through Keybase’s servers and can only be decrypted by the recipients, and Keybase itself can’t decrypt them.
Similarly, with the acquisition of Keybase, Zoom will use its technology to build an end-to-end encryption mode for paid users.
Zoom in its latest blog post shared the details of this upcoming feature for paid users,
“Zoom will offer an end-to-end encrypted meeting mode to all paid accounts. Logged-in users will generate public cryptographic identities that are stored in a repository on Zoom’s network and can be used to establish trust relationships between meeting attendees. An ephemeral per-meeting symmetric key will be generated by the meeting host. 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 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. We are also investigating mechanisms that would allow enterprise users to provide additional levels of authentication.”
“These end-to-end encrypted meetings will not support phone bridges, cloud recording, or non-Zoom conference room systems. Zoom Rooms and Zoom Phone participants will be able to attend if explicitly allowed by the host. Encryption keys will be tightly controlled by the host, who will admit attendees.”
“We believe this will provide equivalent or better security than existing consumer end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms, but with the video quality and scale that has made Zoom the choice of over 300 million daily meeting participants, including those at some of the world’s largest enterprises.”