Latest Tech News This Week: Zoom Hit With Security Woes, Cyber Attacks on Healthcare Ramp Up

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Here Are This Week’s Top Stories:

1. Collaboration: Zoom’s Stock Is Skyrocketing But Is It Secure?
2. Security: Healthcare Hit By COVID-19 Cyber Attack
3. IT Strategy: Washington Signs Facial Tech Into Law

Collaboration

Zoom’s Stock Is Skyrocketing But Is It Secure?

Even as Zoom’s active user count scales everyday with U.S. volumes touching 4.84 million on Monday, concerns around the solutions’s security credentials have risen significantly. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, shunned the videoconferencing app, citing “significant privacy and security concerns”. New York’s Attorney General wrote to Zoom about its ability to secure massive workloads.

Big Picture: While stock is soaringOpens a new window for Zoom amid a global meltdown, the lack of end-to-end encryption will impact user growth. “It is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings,” Zoom spokesperson reportedly shared with The Intercept.Opens a new window Even though Zoom secures audio and video meetings using TCP and UDP connections, it can access the unencrypted video and audio content of meetings. Another downside — Zoom sells user data to advertisers for targeted marketing.

Our Take: Considering that NASA has prohibited its employees from using Zoom and the FBI has observed instances of people invading school sessions on the service, organizations need to make sure employees are not sharing links to team meetings publicly. Alternatively, organizations can also try other video conferencing services that boast better security features.

Security

Healthcare Hit By COVID-19 Cyber Attack

The coronavirus epidemic is weighing heavilyOpens a new window on the security sector with a record spike in COVID-19 themed cyberattacksOpens a new window . In fact, the healthcare industryOpens a new window on the frontlines of the epidemic is facing a record surge of cyber attacks. Hackers targeted U.K. based Hammersmith Medicines Research while the test center was preparing to perform medical trials on prospective COVID-19 vaccines. The test center was hit by a cyber attack on March 14 when hackers attempted to breach the system. Reports indicate some data was stolen and posted online for ransom. Additionally, security researchers from Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Lab uncovered a powerful malware disguised as a “coronavirus map” application that infects Windows computers and is disguised as software from John Hopkins University.

Big Picture: The coronavirus epidemic has become the new attack vector for cyber criminals who have jumped on the opportunity. The Coronavirus map app is one such malicious app- secretly stealing credit card numbers, browser history, cookies, usernames and passwords from the browser’s cache without users noticing such actions.

Our Take: Cybercriminals are exploiting global concerns around COVID-19, targeting people and organizations on the front lines of the pandemic. The record increase in hacking attempts has prompted cybersecurity professionals to step up the plate and form a response group called Cyber Volunteers 19. Opens a new window

Both individuals and corporations need to put more guardrails against these cyber threats and ensure appropriate security frameworks and policies to keep threat actors at bay.

IT Strategy

Washington Signs Facial Tech Into Law

On Tuesday, the Washington state legislature passed a bill into law to regulate the use of facial recognition by government agencies. As per the new law, facial recognition technologies need to be regularly tested for fairness and accuracy and can only be used under warrant. However, another bill to regulate the commercial use of facial recognition was tabled but not passed.

Big Picture: Washington tech giant MicrosoftOpens a new window that has been lobbying for regulationsOpens a new window around the use of facial recognition tech welcomed the move. Microsoft President Brad Smith hailed the new law as “a significant breakthrough” and an “early and important model” to serve the public interest without impacting people’s fundamental rights.

Our Take: Facial recognition offers many benefits but also poses a serious threat to privacy and security. Ethical use of such technologies should be enforced through legislation and should apply to both public and private entities. The scope and purposes of facial recognition tech should also be reviewed regularly to prevent misuse.

Trivia

AlphaGo Developer Nabs ACM Prize!

David Silver, a Professor at University College London (@uclOpens a new window ) and a Principal Research Scientist at @DeepMindOpens a new window , will receive the 2019 ACM Prize in Computing for breakthrough advances in computer game-playing: #ACMPrizeOpens a new window pic.twitter.com/2hZOUrLeLJOpens a new window

— Association for Computing Machinery (@TheOfficialACM) April 1, 2020Opens a new window

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