• The COVID-19 pandemic triggered most businesses all over the world to temporarily shutdown
  • Business owners sent their employees home and opted to remote working or work from home settings giving rise on the use of video teleconferencing platforms like Zoom
  • A new report reveals that US intelligence officials have allegedly revealed that foreign operatives are using Zoom to observe Americans

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the increase in the use of video chatting and teleconferencing apps like Zoom. These kind of apps become popular because businesses shut down to help flatten the curve and arranged a work-from-home set-up. However, U.S. officials have discovered that these apps are being used by foreign operatives to spy on Americans.

A recent article from the Time revealed an alarming discovery from the US government. According to the report, three U.S. counter-intelligence agencies found out that foreign operatives are using Zoom to spy on Americans. These foreign cyberspies are Russians and Chinese, according to the report. One of the three U.S. officials revealed that "more than anyone else, the Chinese are interested in what American companies are doing," implying that Chinese operatives are the most aggressive ones when it comes to spying.

With millions of Americans now using Zoom for their work from home needs, internet security researchers and intelligence officials are increasingly alarmed. On Apr. 3, The Citizen Lab, a research team of the University of Toronto, revealed that it had found several security issues with Zoom. One of these issues allows users to be defenseless to China.


The report stated that Zoom's encryption keys, via its Chinese servers, are responsive to pressure from Chinese authorities. The Chinese servers are also weak, and the app's ownership is dependent on Chinese labor. Additionally, U.S. intelligence officials revealed that all conferences in the platform have end-to-end encryption.

Zoom made a swift response to address the issue by releasing a series of public statements. It also denied the allegations about the end-to-end encryption and claimed that the online messaging tools of the app do not have one. It is worth noting, however, that, while the U.S. intelligence officials have discovered this kind of observation in Zoom, it clarified that, at this point, they were not able to piece any evidence that shows the popular video conferencing apps is working with China.

Earlier this week, the New York City Department of Education banned students and teachers from using Zoom. It also recommended switching to Microsoft Teams as the new video teleconferencing platform as soon as possible over privacy and security concerns. Zoom recently said that it was overwhelmed by the increased number of users of its platform but assured the public that it is doing its best to further improve the privacy and security of the app.