Videoconferencing apps

Family member normally attends a course once a week which has been ‘on freeze’.

It has now been announced they will have virtual lessons using Zoom - having seen some negative reports regarding security issues on several platforms would it be wise to use this? I have several concerns.

I see UK Gov and WAG have used it (Welsh Health Minister delightfully using expletives to describe a colleague when he thought his mic was off! :slight_smile: ).

we as a Company use Zoom, so far no issues, as with every platform good internet - assume family member will be joining group - revenue from zoom comes from liceseing - our company have a number of licensine - not been envolled in costs

My son through his Uni use Microsoft teams which he says works very well

for personel use I use Whats App, Facetime, Skype - depending who I am talking too and what platform they use

I did hear house party has security issues - but certainly Zoom through these times has proved to be very good

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As long as your family member’s course isn’t on matters relevant to national security (!) I wouldn’t worry too much about Zoom. Microsoft Teams is also OK, but to me it seems extraordinarily unintuitive and it doesn’t work well on iPad either (there is a cludgy workaround which I discovered, but there shouldn’t need to be).

House Party is a totally different type of thing, where just as in a real house party you can have multiple conversations going on at the same time, with people listening and joining in sometimes.

There are multiple other professional products like Webinar, Webex and GoToMeeting. Skype for Business used to work well enough but is being killed by Microsoft who want people to use Teams.

All in all, for a hobby, casual, friends type of thing, I would think Zoom is the way to go. It’s free to join a Zoom session and the software is free. The host is the person who needs a licence, either a free one with limitations on the numbers who can join a session and/or the length of the session or a paid for licence which from memory is about £12 a month per host.




I work for a company were they take IT security very seriously. We had confirmation today that Zoom is safe to use for confidential company business. We also use Microsoft Teams which is a godsend at the moment.


I’m told, by my bother-in-law who uses Zoom regularly, that Zoom have removed the 40 minute time limit on the free version for the duration of the crisis.

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Good! It was still there a week ago…



Oh, and I subscribed last week.

My wife just now came off a Zoom call with her friends (they all drink wine “together” on a Fri evening) and it was terminated after 40 mins by the system “your free 40m call is over”



Well there you go - can’t explain that one! We were ‘zooming’ on brother-in-law’s a/c, with 5 participants, for well over an hour last night. I reckon he’s telling me porkies and using a signed up a/c. I shall chastise him severely for the ‘fake news’!

I was Zooming last night, still restricted then.

I have just downloaded Webex for the start of our Family Quiz on Sunday. Family members in Florida, Bermuda and all round the country.

I am paying monthly, it’s £12+VAT, £14.40, a month. If you pay the annual sub it’s £120+VAT, but I’m rather hoping restrictions will ease inside 10 months, and gambling that I remember to stop paying.

Yes Zoom is ok depending on the security controls your organization requires. For low risk content it’s fine.
I note HMG has moved on from Zoom…
For family use and the village social distance Pilates class Zoom is just the ticket…

For more sensitive UK and controlled content we use access controlled MS Teams (UK Azure) video conferencing.

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The idea Zoom is okay for “low risk content” is hopelessly naive.

See for starters.

I would worry deeply about anyone who on the one hand says they take security seriously and on the other uses Zoom. It’s increasingly being classified as malware by lots of organisations for both its own issues and the attacks and others activity it attracts.

Yes, it’s updating things rapidly at present but it’s literally nowhere near where it needs to be so if someone tells you “ah but they did an update and fixed that” frankly I’d laugh in their face.

My son’s school use Zoom and have had incidents of kids having to be “virtually” suspended for trolling classes other than their own and posting offensive material. They’re moving to Teams as quickly as they can. Yes, it’s less intuitive and less sexy. So what!

As a further example my union, UNISON, held a branch meeting last week and made it accessible via Zoom. Week 1 they had over 100 people wanting to watch but only 100 could. Week 2 they increased capacity and our steward proclaimed how Zoom issues had been fully addressed via the latest update. You needed a code to access and so on.

The next meeting was cancelled after numerous members reported having been exposed to material of a nature described as somewhere between “distressing” and “absolutely horrific”.

There was nothing confidential nor especially controversial in the meeting content but that is nothing to the point.

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How current does your PC/Operating System need to be to enable Microsoft Teams to work ? I’m using an IBM ThinkPad from about 10 years ago with Windows XP. No built-in camera etc.

What about an i-Pad Mini 4. Could I access a Teams meeting with that ?

I tried to join a Teams meeting at lunchtime to day without success. I ended up FaceTiming one of the other participants and it worked to a certain extent but not really satisfactory at all. Others had similar problems.

It seemed as if I had to pay to open some sort of 365 account with Microsoft to access Teams meetings. And even then it appeared as if there were very severe restrictions as to what sort of meeting I would be able to participate.

You can use it in a browser @Don so the OS won’t matter. Https://

Contrary to an earlier assertion there’s very little wrong with the iOS app and when on video calls for work I prefer it to the Windows 10 app version although the simultaneous text chat works better on W10.

You absolutely don’t need to have 365 membership to use it as a guest. If you’re going to use it regularly to initiate calls then all you need is a Microsoft email address e.g. Outlook or Hotmail. As a guest you can use gmail or whatever or just wait for the invite.

Most efficient way to do it is to have someone send you a meeting request by email and then click the “Join Teams meeting” link within that invite.

Funnily enough I’d come across that site earlier.

A few searches twitched me including:

As you mention Mike it’s not that a particular educational meeeting will have anything secretive it’s more the possibility of uninvited guests causing issues.

I’ve seen a reassuring communication from the course provider which allays some of my concerns, but I’m constantly amazed how organisations (schools especially) assume we’re all happy to use some 3rd party tools/social media platforms without any thought or consultation.

The problem is that you’re then often stuck using stuff you’d really prefer not to.

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Schneider is excellent almost without fail.

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Worth adding into the mix.

You are entitled to your views, others are entitled to theirs :grinning:
I think you need to think about controls, impact and perspective.
There is a lot of rubbish, sensationalism and scaremongering discussed about ‘security’ … and you never quite know sometimes the motivations of such articles.

You may or may not be surprised, depending on what you do with security services professionally how much of what you do potentially online can be surveillanced by national and foreign actors, but it is the impact, gain, consequence of doing so that is relevant … as the net always need to be narrowed.
If China wants to potentially monitor the local Pilates class online I call that inconsequential and low risk. The benefit of user friendly, accessible service out weighs the risk to my and many others minds. Perspective and impact are key … it is inappropriately naive to not to take these matters into consideration,

As far as conferencing services, when ever there is a bridge, there is a potential tapping point… so formally one needs to understand the controls around that bridge and legal jurisdiction it falls under to assess it.
Peer to peer (ie one to one) is typically ‘safer’ as the media is point to point and is typically in many apps encrypted… vulnerabilities are more likely to exist in clients in those services.

But to summarise, it is the perspective and impact that is key, … therefore with the information I currently have:

Would I use Zoom video conferencing to talk casually to friends and family, the local village Pilates class and use for public domain content… yes I would.

Would I use Zoom to discuss matters of commercial sensitivity, sensitive family or personal matters or official security matters, no. I would only use a conferencing bridge in the UK with suitably under pinned security controls.