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Apple Turns Off Mac OS Feature For Security Concerns

By July 29, 2019May 16th, 2022Cybersecurity

Apple is in the news again, but not for anything good.

Jonathan Leitschuh, a security researcher, recently unearthed a serious security flaw that allowed a hacker to activate a Mac computer’s webcam without alerting the computer’s owner.

The problem is a program called Zoom.

The Zoom software installs a web server on the owner’s computer, which is designed to provide a rapid launch feature for the on-board camera when users click on a web link.  The server is also designed to re-install Zoom’s software if it gets removed for any reason.

Unfortunately, a flaw in the program’s design would have allowed hackers easy remote access. That is why Apple quietly removed part of the software’s functionality that allowed users to quick-connect to video conference calls.  The company didn’t formally announce the change, nor have they responded to attempts to contact them for an ETA and more details about the bug. However, the company is being tight-lipped about the issue.

Priscilla Barolo, a spokesperson for Zoom, offered this about the issue:

“We’re happy to have worked with Apple on testing this update to resolve the web server issue.  We appreciate our users’ patience as we continue to work through addressing their concerns.”

From this, we can glean that there is an effort underway to address the issue, and Apple’s move was a temporary stopgap.  Unfortunately, it provides no actionable information. So for the time being, if you use Zoom, it’s not going to work as you’re expecting it to.

Apple is usually more forthcoming than this, but it would probably be a mistake to read too much into their silence.  From a practical perspective, be aware that if you rely on Zoom for video conferencing, you may want to look for an alternative, at least in the short term.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.