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

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
16 months ago

Apple app aproval process fail.

Is it? I can't find the Zoom app in the Mac App Store. I think you have to download it from their website.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Apple app aproval process fail.

Well considering the app isn’t on the Mac App Store and you have you go on Zoom’s website to download and install it, this point is invalid.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Well considering the app isn’t on the Mac App Store and you have you go on Zoom’s website to download and install it, this point is invalid.

So, Apple can install an update (essentially any code) without user's approval or notification? Not good.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with Apple pushing out silent updates. There should be an option to be notified about them (maybe there is and I'm not aware?). I do trust Apple, but I like to know what updates are coming my way.

I suggest you guys research XProtect. This has been on the Mac for many years and silently updates to prevent malware, like Zoom (that’s essentially what it is, no sugar coating it), from affecting user’s systems once it is found out. For legit developers, even third party, they can also revoke their certificate which means that most users won’t be able to open the app unless they change it to the most wide open setting, which I don’t believe is the default. Only shady companies don’t get signed certs through Apple. I guarantee you Apple threatened to revoke their certs which is why they had a sudden change of heart. Apple could have just nuked the app completely, and I think they have the right in their terms and conditions for the Xcode/macOS license agreement.

I love it when Apple does this. They keep developers in check, like they did recently with Facebook. They also have a protection mechanism built into iOS that can remotely wipe rogue apps off every person’s device in the world. They’re the only company with the balls to do it and the security and privacy mindset to pull it off. May security and privacy forever be their #1 goal. Seriously, bless those beautiful engineers. They’re far from perfect, but among the best there is.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago
Yes. Well done Apple. Very well done.

This is a disaster for Zoom. They had one of the best brands in the comms space, and they are destroying it with this “feature”’ which makes Macs vulnerable and then trying to pass this off like it’s no big deal. It’s breathtaking how tone deaf they are.

It’s despicable, and Zoom better act fast before they are dead to enterprises. No CIO/CTO will risk their career because a vendor has a slightly easier user experience.

This is company destroying stupidity and Zoom better act while they still can. Otherwise, they will be a business school case study of what not to do in a crisis.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Apple has now taken things one step further and pushed out a silent macOS update that removes the web server, reports TechCrunch ('https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/10/apple-silent-update-zoom-app/'). The update is deployed automatically, so users don't have to manually apply it in order for it to take effect.

So, Apple can install an update (essentially any code) without user's approval or notification? Not good.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

So, Apple can install an update (essentially any code) without user's approval or notification? Not good.

This is absolutely not what XProtect is - what is updated is a list of application definitions that the previous quarantine system can use to prevent malicious software from running. There is literally no code being installed in this process.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

New Version of Microsoft Office Coming Next Year That Won't Require a Subscription

Thursday September 24, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Microsoft will next year offer a new perpetual release of Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows that doesn't require a subscription to use, according to the software giant (via Windows Central). "Microsoft Office will also see a new perpetual release for both Windows and Mac, in the second half of 2021," said Microsoft in a blog post announcing the next version of its Exchange server,...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.7 With Fixes for WiFi Bug, 27-Inch iMac Graphics Issues

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:32 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.7, the latest update to the macOS Catalina software. macOS Catalina 10.15.7 fixes several major bugs that Mac users have been experiencing, and it comes a month after the latest macOS Catalina release. The ‌‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

Apple Designs Custom Face Mask for Corporate and Retail Employees [Updated with Unboxing]

Wednesday September 9, 2020 11:13 am PDT by
Apple's design team has created a new kind of protective mask that's being distributed to retail and corporate employees, reports Bloomberg. The mask is called the Apple Face Mask and it was developed in-house in Cupertino by the Engineering and Industrial Design teams at Apple. Last week, an Apple employee sent MacRumors an image of the mask design, which can be seen up above. The Apple ...

Video Offers Closer Look at Apple Face Mask

Friday September 25, 2020 5:25 am PDT by
YouTube channel Unbox Therapy has today shared a new video giving a closer look at Apple's reusable face masks for corporate and retail employees. Apple's own face mask was designed by the company's Engineering and Industrial Design teams amid the global health crisis for corporate and retail employees, and the boxes include Apple's famous "Designed by Apple in California" text. The...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...