A new vulnerability has been disclosed for the Zoom video conference app on the Mac. The outlined flaw, which could let websites take over your Mac’s camera.
When you install the Zoom app on your Mac, it also installs a web server, which “accepts requests regular browsers wouldnot,” as detailed by The Verge.
The Zoom web server is running as a background process. Thus, any website is able to “forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without the user’s permission.”
If you simply click a link, you’ll automatically join a Zoom conference call with your camera enabled, even if you no longer have the Zoom app installed.
We tested the vulnerability using a link in Leitschuh’s Medium post and were immediately connected to a Zoom conference call with our Mac’s camera enabled. One of the most jarring aspects of this vulnerability is that it works even if you have uninstalled the Zoom app:
Additionally, if you’ve ever installed the Zoom client and then uninstalled it, you still have a local host web server on your machine that will happily re-install the Zoom client for you, without requiring any user interaction on your behalf besides visiting a webpage. This re-install ‘feature’ continues to work to this day.
So how can you protect yourself? The easiest way is to go into the Zoom settings window and enable the “Turn off my video when joining a meeting” setting. You can also run a series of Terminal commands to uninstall the web server completely.