Zoom Conference App Vulnerability Allowed Unauthorized Access to Mac Users’ Video Cameras

 

A researcher, Jonathan Leitschuh, claimed that Zoom users that use Apple’s Mac computers were left unprotected and could have had their computer camera hacked. This application glitch allowed any user to force other users into joining Zoom calls, turning on their camera without permission. Leitschuh, the one who discovered this flaw, stated in his blog, “This vulnerability leverages the amazingly simple Zoom feature where you can just send anyone a meeting link… and when they open that link in their browser their Zoom client is magically opened on their local machine.”

Leitschuh discovered how to expose the flaw by switching the Participants option from “Off” to “On.” When he notified the public about this vulnerability, users on social media put it to the test – and it was a frightening success. In addition, even if a user deletes Zoom from their Mac, a hacker could reinstall it. As a quick and temporary fix to this issue, users can go into their Zoom settings and click on “Turn off my video when joining a meeting.” 

Leitschuh gave Zoom a 90 day window to repair this issue. Over 40 million people who use Zoom are exposed to potential invasion of privacy. He was not convinced with the quick fix Zoom came up with. The company commented that the issue is still ongoing, however, on Tuesday, they stated that had begun to fix this matter. 

Apple recently released a silent update to patch the vulnerability on users’ Zoom apps. The update is deployed without the need for user interaction and effectively stops the possibility of web servers activating a user’s video camera without permission.

iPad Videography with the Padcaster

Many people have replaced still and video cameras with their mobile devices, but what about those who use their iPads? Sometimes using the full sized iPad for taking photos or video can get out of hand (and at certain times downright inappropriate if it is blocking the view of others). But for those who are serious about their iPad videography, the Padcaster makes taking video more like filming.

c/o Padcaster.com
c/o Padcaster.com

The Padcaster is a lightweight aluminum frame with 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes on all sides, allowing users to attach all kinds of accessories. Need stability? Screw on a tripod. Want to change the focus and depth of field? The Lenscaster, an optional accessory, lets you attach a lens in front of the iPad camera lense. Anything from external microphones to mini clamps can be attached to the Padcaster.

c/o CNET.com
c/o CNET.com

So is the Padcaster (and Lenscaster) worth the $1? Using an iPad is much cheaper than a DSLR, but if you don’t already own the filming accessories to attach, iPad videography with the Padcaster probably isn’t worth the money. The only way we see it as being practical is as a backup for those who own an iPad and are already into videography, owning all the filming accessories. The Padcaster can also be used as a cage for a full size camera, making it more useful for those already into filming. Otherwise, we would pass.