• Former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos will be working with Zoom as an outside consultant to help it improve its privacy and security.
  • The announcement comes after Zoom has encountered a wave of privacy issues since it exploded in popularity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The appointment of Stamos as a consultant is part of Zoom’s 90-day plan to address the state of the video-chat platform’s security, which it announced on April 1. 
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Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former security chief, announced that he will be working with Zoom as an outside consultant to help the growing video-chat platform improve its security, privacy, and safety.

The move comes after Zoom has come under scrutiny for a variety of privacy and security issues as usage has skyrocketed over the past month amid the coronavirus pandemic. Such security problems include a new form of digital harassment known as “Zoom bombing,” which is when internet trolls infiltrate Zoom chat rooms and bombard them with offensive content. Other issues have emerged, including the discovery that call recordings had been left open and viewable on the web, which The Washington Post reported.

Stamos said Zoom CEO Eric Yuan approached him last week after the former Facebook executive posted a string of tweets detailing the steps Zoom could take to address its security issues. In a Medium blog post detailing his decision to join Zoom as an external consultant, Stamos said he was drawn to the opportunity for both the technical challenge it presents and because Zoom has become such a critical part of daily life as people around the world are under orders to stay home.

“To successfully scale a video-heavy platform to such a size, with no appreciable downtime and in the space of weeks, is literally unprecedented in the history of the internet,” Stamos wrote. “It has been clear to many people who have worked on production-scale systems that something special has been happening at Zoom, and the related security challenges are fascinating.”

Bringing on Stamos as a consultant is part of Zoom’s 90-day plan to bolster its security, which the company announced on April 1. Along with bringing in outside experts like Stamos, Zoom has committed to enhancing its bug bounty program, enacting a feature freeze so that it can shift its resources toward security, and publishing a transparency report that includes information about data requests Zoom has received.

Stamos left Facebook in 2018 and is currently the director of Stanford University’s Internet Observatory. He’s been an outspoken advocate for privacy and security and frequently weighs in on such issues via Twitter.

“I encourage the entire industry to use this moment to reflect on their own security practices and have honest conversations about things we could all be doing better,” Stamos wrote. 

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