Q: I’m working from home during the COVID-19 crisis and we’re using Zoom to conduct our meetings. I keep seeing stories about how this service is not secure and I am concerned. Is there anything I should be doing to keep myself safe?
A: Zoom is certainly in the news quite a bit right now. Stories about the service being hacked and compromised in a number of different ways have a lot of people questioning whether or not it is safe to use.
Zoom has been very responsive to the problems that have been reported, and it is providing updates and best practices for keeping users safe.
As recently as last week, Zoom pushed out an update to its application that you should install as soon as you can. This update addresses some of the security concerns that have been raised in recent days and will help secure systems using the application.
You can read up on the issues addressed in these updates at tinyurl.com/helplinezoom.
To update Zoom, click on your avatar icon in the upper right hand corner of Zoom and select Check for Update. This will kick off the update process and install the latest version. If this doesn’t work, you can always uninstall Zoom and reinstall from its website at zoom.us/download.
Beyond keeping the app up-to-date, there are some things you can do to prevent unauthorized access to your Zoom meetings. Read about these steps at zoom.us/security.
As with any technology, a little prevention goes a long way. Much of the news about Zoom has been about unsavory characters taking advantage of unprotected meetings. I encourage anyone using Zoom to read up on the security recommendations and implement them as soon as possible.
Q: I’m finding that I need to buy more and more things I need online, but sites like Amazon are taking a very long time to fulfill orders right now. Can you suggest any alternative online shopping services I can turn to?
A: Amazon has been hit pretty hard in the shelter at home economy. Many of the things I have recently shopped for there are indicating shipping delays of up to a month. It’s very frustrating.
In the last few weeks I have turned to eBay to order things I could not obtain at Amazon.
While eBay is best known as a place to bid, auction style, on various things, it is also a marketplace with everyday items available for direct purchase.
If you use the search filters to show only items that have a Buy It Now option and are shipped from locations in the United States you can actually find things you need that can be delivered pretty quickly.
Avoid items from China and Europe, as delivery can be even longer than buying on Amazon.
You have to pay attention, though. Read the feedback of the seller to get an idea of how reputable they are and check the estimated On or before delivery date advertised on the item you’re interested in.