The acquisition is part of the company’s 90-day plan to address security problems with its video meeting service.
Zoom has acquired Keybase, which serves as a directory for public encryption keys. The 25-person startup, which was launched in 2014, also includes file-sharing and secure messaging features.
News of the purchase, which is the first in the company’s history, was announced via Zoom’s official blog. In it, CEO Eric Yuan writes:
“This acquisition marks a key step for Zoom as we attempt to accomplish the creation of a truly private video communications platform that can scale to hundreds of millions of participants, while also having the flexibility to support Zoom’s wide variety of uses.
“Our goal is to provide the most privacy possible for every use case, while also balancing the needs of our users and our commitment to preventing harmful behavior on our platform. Keybase’s experienced team will be a critical part of this mission.”
Currently, those who make audio and video calls via Zoom only have their content encrypted at each device, meaning it’s not decrypted until it reaches said device. With the addition of Keybase’s features, those who pay to use the site can now choose end-to-end encryption, which will prevent others from accessing the call and will disable cloud-based recording.
News of the acquisition comes after Zoom has faced criticism over its privacy and security shortcomings, which have allowed for video calls to be interrupted by unwanted persons. On top of the deal, Keybase co-founder Max Krohn will now serve as the lead of Zoom’s security engineering team.
As of now, the company plans to release encryption designs on 22 May. However, it will take some time to adapt Keybase’s features to that of Zoom’s database, so there is no timeline for when it will be completed.
The terms of the deal have not been released.