As much of the world works from home, an explosion of video conference calls has provided a playground not just for Zoombombers, phishermen and cybercriminals, but also for spies. Everyone from top business executives to government officials and scientists are using conferencing apps to stay in touch during the new coronavirus lockdowns and U.S. counterintelligence agencies have observed the espionage services of Russia, Iran, and North Korea attempting to spy on Americans’ video chats, three U.S. intelligence officials tell TIME.
But the cyberspies that have moved fastest and most aggressively during the pandemic, the intelligence officials say, have been China’s. “More than anyone else, the Chinese are interested in what American companies are doing,” said one of the three. And that, in turn, has some U.S. counterintelligence officials worrying about one video conference platform in particular: Zoom. While the Chinese, Russians, and others are targeting virtually every tool Americans and others are using now that they’re forced to work from home, Zoom is an attractive target, especially for China, the intelligence officials and internet security researchers say.
An Apr. 3 report by The Citizen Lab, a research organization at the University of Toronto, found a number of shortcomings in Zoom’s security, including some that made it particularly vulnerable to China. It found that Zoom’s encryption scheme “has significant weaknesses,” including routing some encryption keys through Chinese servers, and that its ownership structure and reliance on Chinese labor could “make Zoom responsive to pressure from Chinese authorities.”
The U.S. intelligence officials stress there is no evidence that Zoom is cooperating with China or has been compromised by it, only that Zoom’s security measures leave gaps, some of which may make the application less secure than others. All three intelligence officials, who requested anonymity because they are not
Title: Foreign Spies Are Targeting Americans on Zoom and Other Video Chat Platforms, U.S. Intel Officials Say
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Published Date: Thu, 09 Apr 2020 22:04:25 +0000