Apple Pushes Another Automatic Mac Software Update to Address Further Zoom-Related Vulnerabilities

Apple today pushed a second silent security update to Macs to address further vulnerabilities related to the Zoom video conferencing app for macOS, reports The Verge.

Apple removed software that was installed by RingCentral and Zhumu, two video conferencing apps that relied on technology from Zoom and were also found to have the same vulnerabilities as Zoom earlier this week.


These two apps installed software able to respond to commands that could potentially allow websites to open up your webcam during a video conference without permission. Removing the apps did not remove the secondary software that was vulnerable to exploitation, which is also how Zoom worked.

Discovered last week, the Zoom vulnerability let a website forcibly initiate a video call on a Mac with the Zoom app installed, due to a web server that Zoom installed in the background.

When the vulnerability was first discovered, Zoom said that it used a local web server as a workaround to Safari changes that Apple introduced in Safari 12, calling it a "legitimate solution" to an otherwise "poor user experience" that allowed users to access "seamless, one-click-to-join meetings."

At issue was a new popup Apple implemented to require user approval when launching a third-party app, which Zoom wanted to avoid. Zoom did so through the aforementioned web server, which was designed to wait for calls to open up Zoom conferences automatically.

Zoom eventually released a patch to address the issue, and Apple also took the step of removing web server software that was not initially removed from the Mac when uninstalling the Zoom app. Zoom has since made it so uninstalling the Zoom app will remove the web server, and has made other changes.

Installing Zoom no longer installs a local web server on Mac devices, and there is a new setting to save the "Always turn off my video" preference that disables video in Zoom by default until it is manually enabled.

As with the original Zoom patch, the new patch for RingCentral and Zhumu is deployed automatically so that users are not required to apply it manually for it to take effect. Apple told The Verge that it plans to fix the vulnerability for all of Zoom's partner apps.

Tag: Zoom

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Apple Pushes Automatic Mac Software Update to Remove Vulnerable Zoom Web Server

Earlier this week, a serious vulnerability with the Zoom video conferencing app for macOS was disclosed, with attackers potentially able to hijack users' webcams.


The vulnerability was particularly notable because Zoom had installed a hidden web server on users' computers in order to allow for automatic answering of incoming calls, and that web server was not only the weak point that could be exploited, but it also was not removed upon deletion of the app. As a result, users who had previously deleted Zoom might not even realize they were vulnerable to this potential attack.

After initially defending the decision to install a web server on users' machines to work around changes in Safari 12 that would have required users to click to accept incoming calls, Zoom later backtracked and released a patch to remove the web server from users' computers.

Apple has now taken things one step further and pushed out a silent macOS update that removes the web server, reports TechCrunch. The update is deployed automatically, so users don't have to manually apply it in order for it to take effect.
Although Zoom released a fixed app version on Tuesday, Apple said its actions will protect users both past and present from the undocumented web server vulnerability without affecting or hindering the functionality of the Zoom app itself.

The update will now prompt users if they want to open the app, whereas before it would open automatically.
Zoom told TechCrunch it was "happy to have worked with Apple on testing this update" and that it should resolve all issues with the web server.

In a blog post, Zoom says it will take further action this weekend by automatically having first-time users who select "Always turn off my video" default to having video off for all future meetings. In addition, Zoom will be improving its bug bounty program and security-related issue escalation process.

Tag: Zoom

This article, "Apple Pushes Automatic Mac Software Update to Remove Vulnerable Zoom Web Server" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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