India said today Zoom is ‘not a safe platform’ and advised government employees to not use it for official work as the video conference service surges in popularity in many nations including the world’s second largest internet market as billions of people remain stuck at home due to the coronavirus crisis.
“Zoom is a not a safe platform,” the Cyber Coordination Centre (CyCord) of India’s ministry of home affairs said in a 16-page (PDF) advisory. “Platform not for use by government officers/officials for official purposes,” said Press Bureau of India in a statement. The advisory includes guidelines for users who still wish to use Zoom for their private communications.
The move comes as several companies including Google, Apple, NASA, and Tesla have urged — or warned — their employees from using Zoom, which has amassed over 200 million users. German and Taiwan have also banned the use of Zoom in their nations. The firm, with market cap of over $40 billion, has come under scrutiny — and become subject of a lawsuit — after several of its security and privacy lapses emerged in recent weeks.
Zoom has been trending on app stores in India in recent weeks, too, in a surprise as enterprise services rarely get traction with consumers in the country. Several Indian ministers in India have also tweeted pictures that showed they were using Zoom in recent weeks.
The app is being downloaded more than 450,000 times a day for the last two weeks in India, research firm Apptopia told TechCrunch. This week, India also started a competition for startups to develop a secure conferencing app.
Zoom chief executive has Eric S. Yuan has apologized for the security lapses and pledged to prioritize focus on users’ privacy and security over development of new features. The firm recently also recently hired former Facebook security officer Alex Stamos as an advisor.
In a statement, a Zoom spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company takes its users’ security “extremely seriously.” The statement adds, “A large number of global institutions ranging from the world’s largest financial services companies and telecommunications providers, to non-governmental organisations and government agencies, have done exhaustive security reviews of our user, network and datacenter layers and continue to use Zoom for most or all of their unified communications needs.”