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Zoom's shares have soared in 2020 as the popularity of its video conferencing service has grown during a time of widespread lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Zoom buys Keybase to bolster encryption

Zoom's shares have soared in 2020 as the popularity of its video conferencing service has grown during a time of widespread lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Zoom Video Communications Inc. bought Keybase Inc., which makes a secure messaging and file-sharing service, to bolster the service’s encryption amid privacy concerns.

Zoom’s shares have soared in 2020 as the popularity of its video conferencing service has grown during a time of widespread lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Bloomberg)

The acquisition, Zoom’s first, boosts its goal of becoming the most popular video conferencing tool with end-to-end encryption, the San Jose-based company said Thursday in a statement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Keybase makes a messaging platform that features end-to-end encryption, the highest standard available, which is intended to let only a sender and recipient see the information they exchange. Zoom, whose videoconferencing app attracts 300 million daily participants, had claimed the service met that high security standard before correcting to say the platform has a lower level of encryption, just one of the company’s privacy fumbles as it grew in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. Security and privacy issues led some companies and organizations to ban Zoom for remote meetings. Keybase’s engineers will help the company develop new capabilities for its platform.

Zoom shares climbed more than six per cent to $158.76 at noon in New York. The stock has more than doubled since the start of the year.