Standard Chartered bans Zoom and Google Hangouts

The London-based bank says cyber security is a top priority

Standard Chartered has become the first major bank to ban the use of Zoom and Google Hangouts among its employees due to cybersecurity concerns.

In a memo seen by Reuters, CEO Bill Winters told managers not to use the popular video communication services, joining an array of companies and governments who have banned Zoom in the last weeks.

A Standard Chartered spokeswoman told Reuters that cyber security remains a top priority and that staff can use several authorized tools for audio and video conferencing.

Winters’ decision to warn employees against using Google Hangouts is rather unprecedented, as Alphabet’s platform for virtual gatherings has not earned the same reputation for cybersecurity issues as Zoom.

Zoom has been plagued by security concerns since it saw a surge in users following COVID-19 remote working boom. It's been revealed that the company doesn't use end-to-end encryption, despite specifically stating that it does on its website, while incidents of ‘Zoom-bombing’ have forced governments, businesses and schools alike to ban the use of the platform.

Last week, Zoom founder Eric Yuan told CNN that the company had "moved too fast" and should have done more to enforce password and meeting room security.

Neither Google Hangouts nor Zoom boasts the same level of encryption as more secure business-oriented communication platforms, such as Cisco WebEx or Microsoft Teams. Two employees who were not authorized to speak on the matter told Reuters that Standard Chartered uses the latter.

However, even the most secure platforms are not immune to security threats. The Cofense Phishing Defense Center recently discovered a new phishing campaign that aims to harvest WebEx credentials using a security warning for the application. The campaign has managed to successfully avert Cisco’s own Secure Email Gateway.

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Last month, Microsoft Teams went down across Europe for two hours, causing mass frustration for the many remote workers who had begun remote working amid the coronavirus pandemic. The platform had gained 12 million users in just one week following a surge of remote working.

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