Zoom marked its first-ever acquisition today, announcing it would acquire security startup Keybase. With social-distancing requirements still in place, the negotiations took place over Zoom. At this time, Zoom has yet to disclose any specifics about the deal, but it’s stated the purchase signifies the company’s latest move in a 90-day plan to fix Zoom’s security flaws.
The acquisition of the security startup will add a team of security-focused developers to Zoom. The tech company has faced criticism in recent weeks as security lapses related to its increasingly popular videoconferencing platform have come to light. Moving forward, and as a result of this acquisition, Keybase co-founder Max Krohn has been tapped to lead Zoom’s security engineering team.
Zoom has worked diligently on building true end-to-end encryption for videoconferences after it received criticism for having its calls appear to be fully encrypted, even though they weren’t.
“There are end-to-end encrypted communications platforms. There are communications platforms with easily deployable security. There are enterprise-scale communications platforms. We believe that no current platform offers all of these. This is what Zoom plans to build, giving our users security, ease of use, and scale, all at once,” CEO of Zoom, Eric S. Yuan, shared in the company’s announcement.
“The first step is getting the right team together. Keybase brings deep encryption and security expertise to Zoom, and we’re thrilled to welcome Max and his team. Bringing on a cohesive group of security engineers like this significantly advances our 90-day plan to enhance our security efforts,” Yuan continued.
Initially launched as a directory for public encryption keys in 2014, Keybase profiles are meant to serve as the epicenter of a person’s online identity. Not only can Keybase verify its users, but it can also verify any other online accounts associated with them. By accessing a user’s Keybase profile, others can then feel confident that any account associated with a Keybase profile is authentic.
Max Krohn, Keybase.io co-founder and developer, said of the acquisition, “Our team is passionate about security and privacy, and it is an honor to be able to bring our encryption expertise to a platform used by hundreds of millions of participants a day.”
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