Zoom releases major new update to try to stop 'Zoom-bombing' among other security concerns

Andrew Griffin
People pass walk by the Nasdaq building as the screen shows the logo of the video-conferencing software company Zoom after the opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Zoom has released a major new update as it continues to grapple with its security problems.

The video chat company also announced that it has recruited former Facebook executive Alex Stamos to serve as an advisor, in an attempt to fix its problems with privacy. Mr Stamos served as Facebook's chief security officer during some of its most controversial years, including the 2016 election.

The new update to the Zoom client, numbered 4.6.10, "focuses on critical security and privacy updates", according to Zoom. It was released since Zoom publicly committed to stop rolling out new features and instead to focus on its problems with security.

The software now includes a special button within the toolbar that can be used to get to the security options. Clicking that allows users to quickly switch on different security options, even if a meeting has already started.

That toolbar allows hosts of a meeting to lock it so others can't join, enable the waiting room feature that means that people must be approved before they can get intoa chat itself, kick people out and restrict people from being able to share their screens or send messages to a meeting's chat.

Many of those options were already available within the app but had to be found through complicated menus or could not be switched on once the meeting had actually begun.

The latest version of Zoom also stops showing the meeting ID in the app itself. Previously, that had been displayed as a way for users to quickly invite other people into a meeting – but it also meant that screengrabs or pictures of a person's display could make the ID number public, and allow anyone access to the app.

Many of the options are intended as ways of fighting against "Zoombombing", the name that has been given to the activity of dropping into someone else's Zoom call, often with the aim of upsetting or insulting those who are already inside. The FBI has warned that people have used the technique to shout offensive language and display extremist and pornographic imagery.

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