Zoom has announced that the company has taken over the start-up KeyBase. Keybase specialises in end-to-end chat encryption. Zoom wants to integrate the service into its video platform.
The American start-up has developed a messaging platform that offers end-to-end encryption for chat services. Messages are encrypted on the user’s device before they pass through Keybase’s servers and can only be decrypted by the recipients, which means that even Keybase cannot read the content of these messages.
Zoom will use the technology to build in end-to-end encryption for paying users. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan wrote in a blog post that when a host activates this mode, participants of the video call will not be able to use third-party conference phones. Cloud recording is also automatically stopped after activation.
Yuan explains that for each Zoom meeting, an encryption key is created by the host, which is only available for a short period. The host decides who gets these keys after which they can participate in the meeting.
“We believe this will provide equivalent or better security than existing end-to-end encrypted consumer messaging platforms, but with the video quality and scale that made Zoom the choice for more than 300 million daily meeting participants, including some of the world’s largest corporations,” Yuan wrote.
The company asks customers and experts to share their feedback on the service. The resulting feedback will ultimately be used to create the final system design.
Zoom also takes into account the business customers who historically represent the most critical market. In his blog post, Yuan said the company is engaged in building “mechanisms that allow business users to provide additional levels of authentication” on top of the planned end-to-end encryption.
Zoom announced in April that it would not release new features for 90 days as long as the privacy and security issue was resolved. At the time, the company indicated that it was planning to implement end-to-end encryption, but this could take another few months. The purchase of Keybase will certainly speed this up.