Zoom Buys Security Company Keybase

The deal is Zoom’s first acquisition in its nine-year history.
Zoom Buys Security Company Keybase

Zoom has acquired Keybase, a security and cryptography company, weeks after the teleconferencing platform faced a backlash over concerns about its privacypolicies.

The companies did not disclose the price tag.

In a blog post, Zoom called the acquisition, “another milestone” in its “90-day plan to further strengthen the security of our video communications platform.” It said it would offer an end-to-end encrypted meeting mode to all paid accounts.

Drive Business Strategy and Growth

Drive Business Strategy and Growth

Learn how NetSuite Financial Management allows you to quickly and easily model what-if scenarios and generate reports.

Under the terms of the deal, Keybase co-founder Max Krohn will become head of the Zoom security engineering team, reporting to Zoom chief executive officer Eric Yuan. About two dozen Keybase employees, most of them security engineers, will become Zoom employees. Keybase will become a subsidiary of Zoom.

Zoom has faced criticism over previous claims about the end-to-end encryption of its video calls. In late March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning about the hijacking of Zoom video conferences, saying it had received multiple reports of conferences being taken over by hackers using the platform to display inappropriate or threatening content.

Last month, the company updated its privacy policy amid concerns from multiple states’ attorneys general. On April 8, former Facebook security head Alex Stamos announced he was working for Zoom as an outside consultant.

Zoom said its maximum daily meeting participants jumped from about 10 million at the end of December to 200 million in March as the coronavirus pandemic closed businesses and schools and meetings moved online.

In an interview, Max Krohn said Keybase’s current users are predominantly security and cryptography experts, and its technology needs to be simplified for Zoom’s broader customer base.

“These are subtle problems and we’ve been working on this problem for roughly five years, and nothing else,” he said.

Keybase was founded in 2014. The company raised $10.8 million in a financing round in 2015, led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting