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Zoom acquires security startup Keybase to offer end-to-end encryption

Encrypted meetings will only be available for paid customers.
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In its latest effort to beef up security, Zoom has acquired Keybase, a popular startup that provides encrypted communication services -- like secure messaging and file sharing. The deal is part of Zoom’s 90-day plan to address security issues brought to light by the recent surge in demand. 

In a blog post, Zoom said it plans to offer an end-to-end encrypted meeting mode to all paid accounts in the near future. When Keybase is implemented, CNBC explains, paid Zoom users who schedule meetings will be able to choose end-to-end encryption. The setting will prevent anyone from calling in by phone, and it will disable cloud-based meeting recordings.

With so many people working and learning from home due to the coronavirus crisis, Zoom has seen a huge uptick in use. But that exposed critical underlying security flaws. Zoom has issued fixes, vowed to win back users’ trust, formed a security council and made other changes. But we’ve seen school districts ban Zoom over these issues, and plenty of competitors are looking to take advantage of Zoom’s missteps. 

Keybase, which has a team of just 25, is Zoom’s first acquisition in its nine-year history, CNBC reports. Fittingly, the deal was worked out over Zoom, and Keybase co-founder Max Krohn said not having to travel allowed the deal to close about 25 percent faster. Time will tell if other businesses trust Zoom enough to hash out their deals over the platform.

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