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Zoom update 5.0 fixes nasty security issues: How and when to get it [Update]

Zoom security issues
(Image credit: SOPA Images/Getty Images)

Update on April 27:  Zoom 5.0, the highly anticipated update that is Zoom's first big step in mitigating its onslaught of security issues since its 90-day freeze, is now available for download. Though the video-call platform claimed that the update would be available on April 22, our eagle-eyed, security-savvy colleague spotted that Zoom 5.0 wouldn't be available until days later. Users can finally update to Zoom 5.0 by clicking here.

It was supposed to be Zoom's time to shine. 

At a time of worldwide social distancing, users flooded the platform for what many considered the best conferencing app. Instead, they were greeted by a barrage of security issues. Now Zoom is hoping to sweep this PR disaster under the rug with Zoom 5.0.

Zoom 5.0 is a new security update that, according to a recent Zoom blog (via Engadget), will beef up its privacy and encryption features to put a lid on the wave of security concerns that have plagued the video conferencing platform.

New security features from Zoom 5.0 update

1. Quick reporting for Zoombombing. There have been reports of trolls crashing Zoom video calls. Should a host need to deal with this issue, Zoom has made it easier to boot out unwanted invaders with a new "report user" button.

2. Easy navigation. The Zoom 5.0 update will optimize its user interface so hosts no longer have to rummage through the site to find security options. Zoom will now feature a new easy-access button on the host's meeting menu bar. You can use it to lock meetings, restrict screen sharing and remove participants.

3. Default waiting room. The existing waiting room feature on Zoom allows hosts to keep guests in a virtual waiting room. When a guest enters the waiting room, the host is then notified and prompted to approve him or her. This cool feature will now be on by default.

4. Default meeting passwords. Generating a password for guests to enter a Zoom call will now be a default feature on the video conferencing platform. Accessing recorded meetings on the cloud will also require a password by default.

5. Shrouding your notifications. With the Zoom 5.0 update, hosts can opt to veil their Zoom Chat notifications from nosey participants

6. 256-bit AES-GCM encryption. In layman's terms, this means Zoom will encrypt your data with a 256-bit key to prevent internet intruders from deciphering your personal information. The combinations created by a security-tight 256-bit key are astronomical. Being tasked with cracking the code by using the brute-force method -- a trial-and-error hacker tactic -- would be far too unappealing. Security experts claim cracking this code would take years of work -- some say more than 200 years

The Zoom 5.0 update is also adding dashboard and contact-sharing enhancements for users on the platform's business, enterprise, and education plans.

When you can get the new Zoom 5.0 update

Although Zoom's blog says the 5.0 update is available today -- with other perks such as the new top-notch encryption standard and report user button rolling out this week -- the hawk-eyed, security reporter Paul Wagenseil, senior editor at our sister site Tom's Guide, revealed to Laptop Mag that this is not true.

If you drill down into Zoom's release logs, you'll find that the update won't be released until April 26, which was confirmed by a Zoom spokesperson.

If you want the new Zoom 5.0 update, you'll need to wait until April 26 to install the upgrade.

How to get new Zoom 5.0 update

To get the Zoom 5.0 update, you'll have to download it manually. Visit zoom.com/download. This will open your app store if you're using a smartphone or lead you to a download page if you're on a PC. You'll then be prompted to update or install Zoom, which should come equipped with the new Zoom 5.0 update (after April 26).

This update comes after Zoom announced a 90-day freeze on new features to address the pile-up of security issues that have swamped the video-call platform. We're curious to see whether this upgrade will help redeem Zoom, a good platform save for its privacy issues, from a tarnished reputation.