Zoom reportedly in talks with Google to make its video calls safer

Google’s security service said to help the company tackle cyber criminals impersonating its domain name to target users

FILE PHOTO: A student takes classes online with his companions using the Zoom app at home during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in El Masnou, north of Barcelona, Spain April 2, 2020. REUTERS/ Albert Gea/File Photo
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Zoom Video, which has attracted scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates, is reportedly in talks with Google's cloud division to make its video calls safer.

Zoom is said to be looking to use a security service – developed by Google – that will warn users before clicking on unsecured links related to malicious websites, The Information, a US digital media company reported.

Zoom declined to comment the report and Google did not immediately respond to The National's request for comment.

The videoconferencing platform's use of Google's Web Risk API service, would allow to screen website links against Google's constantly updated lists of unsafe web resources. The software also warns individual users before they click on any infected link.

The Web Risk API includes data on more than a million unsafe website links and is being constantly updated by examining billions of links each day, Google said.

The feature could help Zoom effectively fend off cyber criminals who are impersonating its domain name to target people working from home.

Since January, more than 6,576 Zoom-related domains have been registered globally, according to a cyber security firm Check Point. The Zoom look-alike domains particularly surged in the period from mid-March to mid-April, it said.

However, Zoom's potential collaboration with Google comes as the search engine giant updates its own video calling app Duo with new features. Besides significantly improving the audio and video quality, Duo is now letting users send Zoom-like invites and has increased the number of participants per meeting.

Zoom, which employs 2,800 employees globally, has seen its user numbers leapfrog as remote working picked up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, the company said the current number of daily participants across its paid and free services surged to 300 million, from about 10 million in December.

In May, it teamed up with the US technology giant Oracle to buy additional cloud capacity to better handle the increasing number of users.

But the concerns have risen regarding how Zoom has handled users' data.

The company, which went public in April 2019, said that the offices of more than 25 attorneys general in the US had raised questions about privacy issues and it is working with the authorities.

Zoom has taken few corrective measures in the past couple of months. It has moved to make its meetings password-protected and introduced “waiting rooms” for participants until the host lets them into meetings.

It also hired Alex Stamos, former chief security officer of Facebook, as a consultant to help build a strong security interface.