Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Apple Roll Out Fix For Zoom Spy Flaw

Pedestrians use crosswalk in large metropolis EnlargeKena Betancur Getty Images
Emmett Howard | 11 July, 2019, 10:55

That's possible in part because the Zoom app apparently installs a web server on Macs that accepts requests regular browsers wouldn't, the post said.

The flaw, discovered by security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh, revealed that any website can "forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without the user's permission". "We expect the web server issue to be resolved today", Zoom spokeswoman Priscilla McCarthy told TechCrunch.

By Wednesday, that differentiator was reduced, as the company announced in a highly-updated blog post that it would walk back back its local web server support in a patch prepared for Tuesday night.

He demonstrated that any website can open up a video-enabled call on a Mac with the Zoom app installed. Now, according to a report by TechCrunch, Apple has pushed out an update silently to the macOS which removes the Zoom web server.

On Tuesday, Zoom released a fixed app version however Apple said its actions would protect users both past and present from the undocumented web server vulnerability without affecting or hindering the functionality of the Zoom app itself, the report said.

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Zoom independently confirmed the vulnerability.

According to Zoom, updating will 'remove the local web server entirely'.

Leitschuh said the use of the local server was a fundamental security vulnerability, and sites should not communicate with applications in such a fashion. It also re-installs Zoom's software if it's been removed.

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. "The first actual meeting about how the vulnerability would be patched occurred on 11 June 2019, only 18 days before the end of the 90-day public disclosure deadline". "This is a breach of transparency and exposes individuals who believe they don't have the software installed to attacks".

'Persisting a webserver on a user's machine whilst giving the impression it's uninstalled is akin to a malicious threat actor. Its underhanded and breaches trust boundaries. It seems that Zoom thinks that asking a user if they want to join a meeting is a "poor user experience".

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