Are Zoom meetings with your Financial Advisor during COVID-19 safe?

New ways to stay connected with your Financial Advisor

With social distancing and isolation becoming the new norm in our everyday lives, it’s no surprise that we’re finding new ways to stay connected.

From FaceTime and WhatsApp to Zoom and Skype, there is no shortage of video-conference solutions that we have access to. Zoom has quickly become one of the primary platforms used for professional meetings by governments, businesses, schools, and for socialising around the world. The platform’s daily meeting participants had reached more than 200 million in March this year from around 10 million in December 2019. Zoom is easy to set up and seamless to use – attendees can join a meeting just by clicking on a link. It also allows for an extensive number of participants to meet simultaneously, which is perfect for internal business meetings. There has however, been some negative backlash from critics around Zoom’s standard of privacy and security. This is understandably creating concern around continuing the use of the platform, particularly for meetings involving sensitive information.  Some of the privacy and security concerns include the following:

  • ‘Zoombombing’ – there has been reports of uninvited attendees crashing into and disrupting meetings.
  • Attendee Attention tracker feature – allows the meeting host to be notified when a member has exited out of the application after a certain period of time.
  • Dubious meeting encryption – it was previously suggested by Zoom that their meetings were capable of ‘end-to-end’ encryption which ensures that only you and the person(s) you’re communicating with can read/hear what’s been sent/said. Zoom however, uses ‘TLS’ (transport layer security) encryption, which protects data while in transit – it is an effective security measure however, it’s not as secure as end-to-end.
  • Collection of information to Facebook – Facebook was collecting device data from users who conveniently logged into Zoom via their Facebook credentials rather than setting up a separate account. Although, the information collected was only device related (i.e. device model and carrier, screen size etc.).

So is Zoom a safe platform to have a virtual meeting with your financial advisor? Zoom has implemented various changes to their platform to improve their security and privacy levels, and like any other virtual solution, there are ways to make your experience more secure by adjusting the settings. Below we have provided some examples of these.

Recent changes to Zoom

  • Zoom has removed the ability for Facebook to collect unnecessary device information, and also the feature for meeting hosts to track attendee attention.
  • Zoom has added a function to allow hosts to ‘boot out’ unwanted attendees to protect against ‘Zoombombing’.
  • Zoom will soon be updating from TLS encryption to AES 256-bit GCM encryption standard, which essentially means it will increase protection against Internet intruders from deciphering your personal information.
  • The meeting host can now disable screen sharing for meeting participants to prevent any unwanted sharing.

Steps on how we are keeping our Zoom meetings more secure and how you can too

  • Meeting ID – when a Zoom meeting is scheduled it creates a meeting ID number. Firstly, it is important to only share the meeting ID (or meeting URL link with the ID embedded in it) privately to the intended participants. Secondly, the person creating the meeting should choose to generate a random meeting ID rather than use their personal meeting ID to help avoid Zoombombers, as it will be a different ID number each time.
  • Use a Password – you can set a password for your meetings to add an extra layer of protection. Meeting attendees will be required to input the password as well as the meeting ID to join the meeting. Please note: if you provide the meeting URL link the password will be embedded in the link.
  • Use the waiting room and lock the meeting – the waiting room feature allows the meeting host to screen participants before they are allowed to enter a meeting, adding further protection against Zoombombers. Once all invited participants have joined, the host can then ‘lock’ the meeting room, in which no additional participants will be able to enter the video call.

Update the Application

As discussed above, Zoom has implemented various improvements to their platform and will continue to work on more changes. If you are using Zoom’s desktop application (rather than a web browser) it’s essential that you regularly update the application to ensure you are using the improved version.

Zoom is still safe to use given the continuous upgrades to the platform and the tweaking abilities. Find more information on securing your data here. Contact one of our Financial Specialists or contact our office on (03) 9835 8200 to book your next Zoom meeting.

DISCLAIMER: Information not Expert Advice and Subject to Change

The content of this blog is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and does not constitute expert advice nor intended to be a substitute for expert advice. The content of this blog may include technical inaccuracies and the information may change from time to time without any notice. We attempt to ensure that the content is current and note that it’s based on available information as at 26th April 2020.

About the Author
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Enza Venuto , Melbourne
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