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.

zoom logo
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

Top Rated Comments

BWhaler Avatar
26 months ago
NO

It was NOT discovered last week.

ZOOM was informed months ago, decided not to fix the patch because it would lower their value proposition and product strategy. Again, they chose to leave the security hole open for their business gain.

Two weeks ago was when the researcher got fed up and disclosed it to the public. Only then did Zoom jump into PR mode and fox the problem.

Apple, god bless them, learned of this and shut the exploit down. No point waiting for an unethical company. What else does Zoom know about they still haven’t disclosed?

MacRumors writers, do your job. Don’t let unethical companies spin or this behavior will never go away.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arkmannj Avatar
26 months ago
Even if you discount the security issues... thanks companies for installing a 24x7 service consuming resources just to avoid a potential CLICK.

Good on Apple for pushing out the updates to help mitigate the stupidity of these companies.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Westside guy Avatar
26 months ago
Any chance you’re willing to share your script? :) It’s a shame that you’d even need to make something like that, especially having to run regularly.
Here it is, warts and all (replace "{username1}, {username2}, etc. with actual user accounts of course).

* There should really be some error checking added to this, for example it shouldn't try to move the files if it's unable to create the "-unused" directories.
* Released under the "you break it, you get to keep both pieces" license


#!/bin/bash -f

#
# Cleans out all the cruft that Adobe, Microsoft, and Google try to hide
# in the Launch* directories. This script works from the command line, but
# it's mainly intended for use as a cron job.
#
# Needs to be run with sudo, or as root
#
#
# Changelog: Added Skype to the list 2018-12-03 TLS
#
# Initial script written 2018-08-15 TLS
#

if [ $USER != "root" ] ; then
echo "Error - needs to be run with root permissions (you are $USER). Please use sudo."
exit 1;
fi

DIRECTORY_LIST=(
"/Library/LaunchAgents"
"/Library/LaunchDaemons"
"/Users/{username1}/Library/LaunchAgents"
"/Users/{username2}/Library/LaunchAgents"
)
UNWANTED_LAUNCHERS_LIST=(
"com.adobe.*"
"com.citrix.*"
"com.google.*"
"com.lifescan.*"
"com.microsoft.*"
"com.skype.*"
)

for THIS_DIR in ${DIRECTORY_LIST* } ; do
if [ ! -d $THIS_DIR ] ; then
continue
fi
STORAGE_DIR="$THIS_DIR-unused"
if [ ! -d $STORAGE_DIR ] ; then
mkdir $STORAGE_DIR
fi
for THIS_GLOB in ${UNWANTED_LAUNCHERS_LIST* } ; do
find $THIS_DIR -maxdepth 1 -type f -iname $THIS_GLOB -exec mv \{\} $STORAGE_DIR \;
done
done
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Westside guy Avatar
26 months ago
Even if you discount the security issues... thanks companies for installing a 24x7 service consuming resources just to avoid a potential CLICK.
Yeah, this is a problem - even setting aside security concerns. All sorts of companies add superfluous scripts to our system's LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folders, usually for no good reason. Adobe, Citrix, Google, Microsoft, etc. Maybe each one doesn't normally chew up much memory, but the effect is cumulative... and sometimes those processes run away.

I actually have a "cleanup unwanted launchers" bash script running as a cron job on all my Macs. It runs each hour and moves the cruft any of these companies (and a couple others) placed into the various LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folders into LaunchAgents-unused and LaunchDaemons-unused, respectively.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
26 months ago
Automatic silent OS updates huh? Sounds like some Google privacy invading stuff to me.
Howso? By making sure people can NOT access your camera and mic without your knowledge in a way that was designed to sidestep basic OS protections, now it's invading your privacy?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iGeneo Avatar
26 months ago
Good!

I have ZERO issue with these silent updates
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Apps Messages

All Three Major U.S. Carriers and Google Adopt Rich Communication Services, But No Sign of Apple Interest

Tuesday July 20, 2021 1:15 pm PDT by
For the last several years, Google has been pushing a new communications protocol called Rich Communication Services, or RCS. RCS is designed to replace SMS, the current text message standard, and it offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file sizes, better encryption, improved group chat, and more. Verizon today announced that it is planning to adopt...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware Now Available

Wednesday July 21, 2021 6:50 am PDT by
Upcoming AirPods Pro firmware updates are now available to Apple Developer Program members as beta versions. AirPods Pro firmware beta one features FaceTime Spatial Audio and Ambient Noise Reduction. Custom Transparency mode, including Conversation Boost, was initially expected to be included in the beta but appears to have been delayed for a later version. Apple made the announcement...
maxresdefault

Apple Music to Livestream Premiere of Kanye West's New Album 'Donda' on Thursday

Wednesday July 21, 2021 1:49 am PDT by
Apple Music on Thursday will host a global livestream for the premiere of Kanye West's tenth studio album, titled "Donda." The sold-out event will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and Apple Music's livestream will start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The livestream was revealed in a Beats Studio Buds ad that aired during the NBA Finals. The ad features U.S. track...
ios wifi settings

Apple Confirms iOS 14.7 Fixes WiFi Bug and Many Other Vulnerabilities

Wednesday July 21, 2021 11:38 am PDT by
Following the release of iPadOS 14.7 this morning, Apple has shared details on the security updates that are included in iOS 14.7, iPadOS 14.7, macOS Big Sur 11.5, watchOS 7.6, and tvOS 14.7, all of which came out this week. Notably, Apple's documentation confirms that the iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7 updates address a WiFi-related vulnerability that could impact iOS devices when joining a...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

Gurman: Redesigned MacBook Pros to Launch Between September and November

Sunday July 18, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to release its redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros sometime between September and November, as part of another packed fall season for new product launches, according to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the new MacBook Pros will go into production in the third quarter and can be expected to be...
macOS Malware Feature

Common Windows Malware Can Now Infect Macs

Wednesday July 21, 2021 8:13 am PDT by
A common form of malware on Windows systems has been modified into a new strain called "XLoader" that can also target macOS (via Bleeping Computer). Derived from the Formbook info-stealer for Windows, XLoader is a form of cross-platform malware advertised as a botnet with no dependencies. It is used to steal login credentials, capture screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files. ...
magsafe battery pack solo

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack

Tuesday July 20, 2021 11:14 am PDT by
The new MagSafe Battery Pack that Apple debuted this week is arriving to customers starting today and it's also now available for in-store pickup in many Apple retail locations around the world. We snagged one this morning and thought we'd take a look at it to let MacRumors readers know if it's worth the $99 asking price. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. As the name ...
macOS Big Sur Feature Orange

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.5 With Podcast App Updates and Bug Fixes

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.5, the fifth major update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November 2020. macOS Big Sur 11.5 comes two months after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.4. The new ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌‌ 11.5 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. macOS Big Sur...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 14.7 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday July 19, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 14.7, the seventh update to the tvOS 14 operating system that initially debuted in September 2020. tvOS 14.7 comes two months after the launch of the tvOS 14.6 update. tvOS 14.7, which is a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌Apple TV‌‌ owners who have automatic software ...
ipad pro m1 feature

Apple Releases iPadOS 14.7 With Apple Card Merging Option, Fix for 3.5mm Headphone Jack to USB-C Adapter Bug

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:18 am PDT by
Apple today released iPadOS 14.7, marking the seventh major update to the iPadOS operating system that came out in September 2020. Apple already released iOS 14.7 on July 19, but for some reason, delayed the iPadOS 14.7 debut until today. The iPadOS 14.7 update can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new ...