Zoom has acquired Keybase, a social networking service startup with encryption expertise, as part of the videoconferencing service’s plan to increase security during the coronavirus pandemic.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan recently announced the acquisition, calling it “another milestone in Zoom’s 90-day plan to further strengthen the security of our video communications platform.” Zoom did not disclose the cost of the acquisition.
“We are excited to integrate Keybase’s team into the Zoom family to help us build end-to-end encryption that can reach current Zoom scalability,” Yuan said in a blog post. “This acquisition marks a key step for Zoom as we attempt to accomplish the creation of a truly private video communications platform that can scale to hundreds of millions of participants, while also having the flexibility to support Zoom’s wide variety of uses. Our goal is to provide the most privacy possible for every use case, while also balancing the needs of our users and our commitment to preventing harmful behavior on our platform. Keybase’s experienced team will be a critical part of this mission.”
Zoom’s acquisition of Keybase comes after the company came under fire for its lack of security, especially during a time when demand for video conferencing has spiked because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports called out Zoom for not being end-to-end encrypted.
Zoom also experienced a data breach when thousands of users discovered their email addresses and photos were being shared with strangers along with access to start a video call. The breach occurred through the use of the “Company Directory” setting that shares with users other contacts who have the same domain as if they work for the same company. However, some users are signed in under personal email address accounts, such as Gmail accounts. Zoom combined the email addresses with those domains together, giving thousands of other users access to their personal information.