Zoom patches vulnerabilities in macOS version, freezes feature development

MANILA, Philippines – Zoom said it released security updates to address vulnerabilities in its macOS client after a security researcher at Jamf revealed two flaws in the client which could give local, unprivileged attackers access to root (or administrative) privileges or allow the attacker to gain access to the microphone and camera of a user.

It also froze feature development for 90 days to address security and privacy issues with the application.

The TechCrunch report, released Wednesday, April 1, said Patrick Wardle of Jamf wrote about the two zero-day flaws on his blog.

The first flaw has to do with Zoom's installer on macOS. Zoom uses a function to allow someone with administrative access to install the app without any user interaction.  

Ever wondered how the @zoom_us macOS installer does it’s job without you ever clicking install? Turns out they (ab)use preinstallation scripts, manually unpack the app using a bundled 7zip and install it to /Applications if the current user is in the admin group (no root needed). pic.twitter.com/qgQ1XdU11M — Felix (@c1truz_) March 30, 2020

 

While seemingly convenient, the way this works also means someone with physical access to a computer they want to attack (otherwise known as a local attacker) can inject something malicious into the Zoom installer beforehand to grant them root privileges as well, which makes it easier for them to install more malware onto that computer.

A second flaw in Zoom can allow a local attacker access to the webcam and microphone on a Mac. According to Wardle, an attacker can inject malicious code into Zoom to allow the attacker the same access to the camera and microphone that Zoom has. Added Wardle, “No additional prompts will be displayed, and the injected code was able to arbitrarily record audio and video.”

More information on Zoom's macOS installer flaws can be found in this VMRay analysis by Felix Seele

Zoom said it has released patches to address Wardle's vulnerability disclosures in an April 1 blog post.

Zoom freezes feature development

Zoom, in response to the growing number of issues found with the app, also announced it was freezing feature development for 90 days.

The company won't add new features until it's done fixing its existing feature set.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan wrote, “For the past several weeks, supporting this influx of users has been a tremendous undertaking and our sole focus. However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations."

Aside from continuing to field requests for support, Zoom has also tweaked its iOS client to remove the Facebook software development kit (SDK) and has updated its privacy policy. It also nixed the app's attendee attention tracker feature, which allows hosts to see if a Zoom window is in focus during a chat session. – Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.

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