Video-conferencing tool Zoom has responded to several security-related concerns raised recently via various reports. The company, in its defence, has come out and said that it will focus and fix ongoing issues within 90 days.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced via a blog post that, in a bid to amp the security on its platform, the company would freeze all feature-related updates for the next three months. As per Yuan, Zoom has over 200 million daily meeting participants (both free and paid), which is a significant jump from its initial 10 million user base during December 2019. The spike was due to several schools and offices opting for ‘work from home’ policy due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Yuan further stated that the user base is much broader and now includes people from different sectors and not just enterprise customers for whom Zoom was initially developed. “We now have a much broader set of users who are utilising our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived,” Yuan wrote.
He further acknowledged that the new use cases helped the company identify unforeseen issues with the platform, and it was addressing each issue as quickly as possible. The company recently updated its iOS app and removed the code which sent data to Facebook even when users had not signed in using the social media website. The company was also accused of misleading marketing related to end-to-end encryption on its platform.
Continuing its efforts to improve the privacy and security standards, Zoom will keep updating its platform for the next 90 days. “I am committed to being open and honest with you about areas where we are strengthening our platform and areas where users can take steps of their own to best use and protect themselves on the platform,” Yuan said.
Several reports online have questioned Zoom’s security measures after its exponential growth over the past few months. Loopholes have led to several reports of personal information being made available to strangers. Recently, miscreants hacked into BARC’s second post-COVID-19 viewership insights conference and posted abusive messages.
SEBI bars Aptech from stock market for 6 months
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has reportedly barred Aptech from the stock market for six months for being found guilty in a Global Depository Receipt (GDR) issue and loan-related fraud, which took place in 2003.
Aptech cannot raise any money from the markets, or deal in stocks or derivatives segments during the six-month ban. SEBI has also barred Aptech’s former Managing Director Pramod Khera for five years for violating the Prevention of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices (PFUTP) norms, reported The Hindu BusinessLine.
The report adds that Aptech was found guilty of ‘creating a complex maze of agreements’ to show that the GDR issues were fully subscribed even though the loan to subscribe went from the company. The entity, which got the loan and bought GDR, later converted it into equity and sold it in the Indian markets, the report added.
The regulatory body, in its investigation, found Aptech pledging its entire GDR proceeds with Banco Bank as a security against the loan availed by another company Willow from Banco Bank for subscribing to Aptech’s GDR. SEBI also found that some of the documents from the 18-year-old case were forged.
“Aptech had pledged GDR proceeds to secure the rights of Banco against the loan given to Willow for subscription to GDR and corresponding GDR proceeds was utilised by Aptech only on repayment of loan by Willow,” SEBI found.
The company later found using the loan against the GDR proceeds as a security, which was, in turn, the loan taken by Willow to subscribe to the entire quantity of GDR issued by Aptech. The SEBI investigation further revealed that the GDR issued by Aptech to Willow was converted into equity shares and sold in the Indian market.
Aptech was also found guilty of not disclosing the interconnecting agreements to the stock exchange. SEBI has further laid charges on Aptech for reporting misleading news to the stock exchange in a distorted manner, which is suspected to have influenced the investor decisions.
During the investigation, it was noted that Banco had granted a loan of up to $20,000,000 to Willow by way of a Credit Agreement dated October 20, 2003, for enabling them to subscribe to the GDR issued by Aptech Ltd. It was also observed that the entire 38,40,000 GDRs were subscribed by only one entity, i.e. Willow, the report added.