Zoom patches webcam security flaw for Mac users

Security Vulnerability in Video Conferencing App Zoom Allows Websites to Hack Into your Mac’s Camera

As you may recall, we reported on Tuesday that a security researcher had discovered that video conferencing app Zoom for macOS could be used to highjack a computer's webcam somewhat easily. Initially, we did not see the web server or video-on posture as significant risks to our customers and, in fact, felt that these were essential to our seamless join process. This, however, is another story - the company is pushing an update to fix a problem with an above-board developer that has over four million users.

Zoom, on the other hand, defended themselves, saying that it would be obvious if someone falls prey to hackers as the app is programmed to be the foremost window on users' screens, however, they've rolled out an update that changes the way meeting links are set up.

The update is not that indispensable since the app has already issued its patch, but this ensures that people running older Zoom releases won't be vulnerable as before. It seems that Zoom thinks that asking a user if they want to join a meeting is a "poor user experience". Zoom clearly had not considered malicious uses - or, worse, had disregarded them - when they made a decision to remove this choice from the user, and appear to consider Zoom use, and presumably their revenue growth, more important than surveillance of users.

"Additionally, if you've ever installed the Zoom client and then uninstalled it, you still have a localhost web server on your machine that will happily re-install the Zoom client for you, without requiring any user interaction on your behalf besides visiting a webpage", the researcher warned. "We appreciate our users' patience as we continue to work through addressing their concerns".

He demonstrated that any website can open up a video-enabled call on a Mac with the Zoom app installed.

But now, TechCrunch reports that Apple chose to step in regardless, launching a silent update for Macs that removes Zoom's web server functionality altogether.

This gave attackers the opportunity to put malicious code on websites that connect to the hidden web server (e.g. the Outlook web app).

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