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Vietnam cautions against Zoom after alleged data breach affecting over 500,000 accounts

Vietnam cautions against Zoom after alleged data breach affecting over 500,000 accounts

Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 16:12 GMT+7
Vietnam cautions against Zoom after alleged data breach affecting over 500,000 accounts
Small toy figures are seen in front of displayed Zoom logo in this illustration taken March 19, 2020. Vietnam’s cybersecurity regulator has urged locals to stay away from the fast-growing app Zoom due to data security concerns. Photo: Reuters

Vietnam’s cybersecurity regulator has advised state agencies, lenders, and firms against using the popular video conferencing platform Zoom for their online meetings after it was alleged that the personal particulars of more than 500,000 Zoom accounts have been leaked.

The Authority of Information Security under the Ministry of Information and Communications issued an advisory on Monday about concerns over the security vulnerability of Zoom, which has boomed in popularity amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The authority cited findings of its own unit, the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team, as indicating that the personal data of more than 500,000 Zoom users has been allegedly compromised.

Such details include the victim’s email address, password, personal meeting URL, and host key, a six-digit pin assigned to a user hosting a Zoom meeting.

The regulator stated that Zoom is popular software for online learning, web conferencing, and telework.

However, the tool has been exposed to several serious security flaws in end-to-end encryption and generation of meeting-room IDs and universal naming convention (UNC) links.

Therefore, the regulator urged government agencies, firms, banks, and other financial institutions to refrain from using the platform for their online meetings.

It also advised these organizations to prioritize using software products from local tech giants including Viettel, VNPT, MobiFone, FPT, VNG, and CMC, among others.

The regulator called on existing Zoom users to make their passwords more complicated and avoid using the same password across multiple online accounts.

Zoom has seen a surge in popularity amid the escalating global health crisis as companies, government organizations, and schools across many countries including Vietnam have turned to the free app to hold their remote conferences and online teaching sessions.

Due to the platform’s lax privacy and safety policy, such meetings are reportedly being hacked to display pornographic and racist content, a practice known as “Zoombombing.”

Last week, the United States Senate told its members not to use Zoom over data security fears.

Taiwan and Germany had already put restrictions on the app's use, according to Reuters.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over two million people and killed more than 126,800 globally as of Wednesday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

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