Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zoom videoconferencing service has enjoyed phenomenal success. According to the company, the number of people participating in video calls on the platform increased from 10 million per day in December 2019 to 200 million per day in March 2020.
Its free and easy to use have contributed a lot to its success. However, in recent weeks, computer security experts have exposed a long series of flaws in the service.
As some URLs for attending Zoom meetings are public, strangers may come in to disrupt these events, for example by broadcasting pornography, a practice known as zoombombing.
Also, while Zoom claims to use AES-256 end-to-end encryption – deemed very secure – to protect the privacy of participants, the Citizen Lab in Toronto has shown that it uses the AES-128 encryption in ECB mode – deemed much weaker. In addition, some calls transit through China, known for its espionage operations.
Faced with these revelations, Zoom claims to have stopped all new development of its platform for 90 days in order to concentrate its efforts to resolve its security and privacy issues.
Are you looking for a free alternative? You will find some of them below. But if you prefer to continue using the Zoom platform, you can do so more securely by making a few settings, including adding a password required to access a meeting. On this subject, see these tips from the University of Montreal (PDF).
>> Read also: How to make video calls on your TV
Maximum of participants: 50
Although most Skype users access it with its application, this service from Microsoft also makes it easy to create and share an online meeting, without creating an account or installing an application. Of course, it is also possible to create and participate in such meetings in the app. In short, we find the simplicity of Zoom, without the setbacks in terms of security and protection of privacy.
Other features: recording conversations, blurring the background (PC software only), sharing presentations.
Maximum of participants: 75
Like Zoom and Skype, Jitsi Meet allows you to create video conferences for free online, without creating an account or installing an application. That said, apps for Android and iOS are also available. Interestingly, Jitsi Meet is developed in open source code, which ensures high transparency regarding the security and privacy measures implemented.
Other features: sharing presentations, chatting.
Maximum of participants: 32
Developed by Apple and offered only on its devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac computers, etc.), FaceTime protects calls with AES-256 encryption from start to finish. Apple has a good reputation for privacy, especially since its business model is not based on data collection and advertising. However, FaceTime does not offer some very useful features, such as sharing presentations.
>> Read: Comparison of 4 streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Roku)