Apple Pushes Silent macOS Update to Remove 'Secret' Zoom Web Server

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"Apple issued an update to ensure that the Zoom web server is removed from all Macs, even if the user did not update their Zoom app or deleted it before we issued our July 9 patch", Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan wrote in a blog post.

This link allows Zoom to begin a video call through their app - even if the receiver has not accepted. Additionally, Zoom users will have access to a menu option to enable a full, manual uninstall of the app. Updates to the Safari web browser has led to the fact, each time Zoom users had to re-configure the application. Zoom clearly had not considered malicious uses - or, worse, had disregarded them - when they chose to remove this choice from the user, and appear to consider Zoom use, and presumably their revenue growth, more important than surveillance of users. "We appreciate our users' patience as we continue to work through addressing their concerns". "But in hearing the outcry from some of our users and the security community in the past 24 hours, we have decided to make the updates to our service".

Zoom independently confirmed the vulnerability. Chromium and Mozilla also found the vulnerability, but have not found a way to close it.

'This is a breach of transparency and exposes individuals who believe they don't have the software installed to attacks. The fix protects users against the threat of unapproved webcam access. Its underhanded and breaches trust boundaries.

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"A very poor decision by the folks at Zoom", he added.

Another expert said this example is a prime reason why people should tape over, or use camera covers, on their laptop webcams.

"This is a good example of why you should never overlook physical security", said Lamar Bailey, Senior Director of Security at Tripwire.

Jonathan Leitschuh, the tech veteran who first spotted the problem late this March said that the problem is caused by the way Zoom is programmed to set up meetings and video conferences. It shouldn't affect functionality other than requiring your permission to launch the app. IoT devices should be segregated on different segments or vlans whenever possible. A physical barrier is far superior'.

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