Author Topic: Is Zoom unsafe?  (Read 421 times)

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Online daniel1948

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Is Zoom unsafe?
« on: September 17, 2019, 11:22:29 PM »
I went ahead and installed Skype so I could take French classes on line, because the first teacher I selected said it is better than Facetime, and folks here on the SGU forums told me it is safe. That teacher didn't work out. Her specialty is helping people who already speak some French, and she can be a conversation partner, correct mistakes, and answer questions of the type "How do you say X?" But she doesn't feel capable of teaching French to an absolute beginner.

Today I had a trial lesson with another teacher, who is actually a professional teacher, who seems a much better fit, but she wants to use Zoom. A quick Google search on "Is Zoom safe?" turned up a long list of articles about serious security flaws in Zoom, including that it installs a server (?) onto your computer, which can re-install Zoom if you decide to delete it. And that hackers can gain control of a Mac running Zoom because of Zoom's bugs.

So I'm back here asking you folks who know so much more than I do about everything computer-related: What's the deal on Zoom? Safe? Not safe? The teacher likes it because it allows us both to type onto the same screen. That sets up red flags for me.

Thoughts? Comments? Anything?

Thanks in advance.
Daniel
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2019, 12:09:26 AM »
I was curious so I did the same search.

It seems that your search is correct,  it can not be completely removed from a mac once installed and has a 0-day vulnerability that can open your webcam.

Until this is fixed I personally would not mess with it. I would also send the teacher some links so they are also aware of the vulnerabilities. They are even listed in Wikipedia.

I'm sure there are several other ways these teachers can find all the tools needed to do the job. Are they not capable of opening more than one piece of software at a time? 
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Offline 2397

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2019, 04:02:00 AM »
I'd avoid anything that allows someone else to access your computer, unless it's a work computer and is set up for the internal/VPN network.

Online daniel1948

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2019, 10:25:23 AM »
I was curious so I did the same search.

It seems that your search is correct,  it can not be completely removed from a mac once installed and has a 0-day vulnerability that can open your webcam.

Until this is fixed I personally would not mess with it. I would also send the teacher some links so they are also aware of the vulnerabilities. They are even listed in Wikipedia.

I'm sure there are several other ways these teachers can find all the tools needed to do the job. Are they not capable of opening more than one piece of software at a time? 

Thanks, both of you.

The reason this teacher likes Zoom is that it would allow us both to type into the same screen. E.g., she could type a sentence with a blank and I could fill in the blank. I will tell her the program is unsafe and I will not use it. With Skype she can share her screen with me and I can see what she types.

Daniel
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-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Captain Video

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2019, 11:16:32 AM »
Try using skype and an instant messaging App at the same time. You cant "fill in the blank" but they could type a question and you could then answer and you would both see it.







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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2019, 11:39:52 AM »
Both Office and Google Docs will let you simultaneously edit a document. I think the online version of office and word are free. Docs definitely is.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2019, 06:38:41 PM »
Try using skype and an instant messaging App at the same time. You cant "fill in the blank" but they could type a question and you could then answer and you would both see it.

Skype allows a simultaneous chat in a sidebar. It also allows the exchange of files. I don't think both of us typing on the same screen is necessary. When I took Spanish, we students didn't write on the chalkboard.

The teacher has agreed that we'll keep using Skype.
Daniel
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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2019, 06:49:00 PM »
Zoom is now safe.

This was fixed a few months ago.  We use it ALL THE TIME to talk to developers in India.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2019, 09:27:52 PM »
How long before the next bug? I used to get a free email newsletter on security issues, and every week there were three new security bugs in Windows. Plug those and more pup up. I don't trust a company that is willing to distribute a program that cannot be removed from my computer.

The only advantage I can see to Zoom is that it would allow me to type directly onto my teacher's screen. Skype (which I installed only reluctantly) allows me to send her text instantly. That will have to be good enough.

ETA: And I'm still going to try some more teachers. I might end up with one who prefers Skype. If I've installed Zoom and can't get rid of it I would not be happy.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Captain Video

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2019, 10:14:35 PM »
Zoom is now safe.

This was fixed a few months ago.  We use it ALL THE TIME to talk to developers in India.

Can you completely remove it from your mac?
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Offline jt512

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2019, 11:12:56 PM »
Zoom is now safe.

This was fixed a few months ago.  We use it ALL THE TIME to talk to developers in India.

Can you completely remove it from your mac?


How could you not be able to completely remove it from a Mac?
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2019, 12:12:43 AM »
Zoom is now safe.

This was fixed a few months ago.  We use it ALL THE TIME to talk to developers in India.

Can you completely remove it from your mac?


How could you not be able to completely remove it from a Mac?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_Video_Communications

Quote
After attempting to uninstall the Zoom client on macOS, the software will keep on re-installing automatically in the background, using a hidden web server that is set up on the machine during the first installation and that stays activated after attempting to remove the client. As of July 2019 the software offers no method for complete removal on macOS and will re-install itself when following Zoom meeting links, using the hidden web server.[34]
“Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin.”
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Offline jt512

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2019, 12:43:05 AM »
Zoom is now safe.

This was fixed a few months ago.  We use it ALL THE TIME to talk to developers in India.

Can you completely remove it from your mac?


How could you not be able to completely remove it from a Mac?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_Video_Communications

Quote
After attempting to uninstall the Zoom client on macOS, the software will keep on re-installing automatically in the background, using a hidden web server that is set up on the machine during the first installation and that stays activated after attempting to remove the client. As of July 2019 the software offers no method for complete removal on macOS and will re-install itself when following Zoom meeting links, using the hidden web server.[34]

That's interesting, but "offering no method" of removal is not the same as there being no way to remove it.  In fact, an article linked from the wikipedia page explains how to completely remove it.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 01:04:03 AM by jt512 »
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Offline jt512

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2019, 04:06:15 AM »
Well, I think I just deleted zoom from my two Mac laptops.  I deleted the Application directory using the rm command.  I then executed the command `sudo locate zoomus`, which found .zoomus directories in the home directories of two users on each laptop, which I then deleted using rm.  Updating the locate database and running `sudo locate zoomus` a second time turned up no more files on either computer, so I think all traces of the app are gone.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 04:14:11 AM by jt512 »
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: Is Zoom unsafe?
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2019, 07:35:02 AM »
Zoom is now safe.

This was fixed a few months ago.  We use it ALL THE TIME to talk to developers in India.

Can you completely remove it from your mac?


How could you not be able to completely remove it from a Mac?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_Video_Communications

Quote
After attempting to uninstall the Zoom client on macOS, the software will keep on re-installing automatically in the background, using a hidden web server that is set up on the machine during the first installation and that stays activated after attempting to remove the client. As of July 2019 the software offers no method for complete removal on macOS and will re-install itself when following Zoom meeting links, using the hidden web server.[34]

That's interesting, but "offering no method" of removal is not the same as there being no way to remove it.  In fact, an article linked from the wikipedia page explains how to completely remove it.

Well, I think I just deleted zoom from my two Mac laptops.  I deleted the Application directory using the rm command.  I then executed the command `sudo locate zoomus`, which found .zoomus directories in the home directories of two users on each laptop, which I then deleted using rm.  Updating the locate database and running `sudo locate zoomus` a second time turned up no more files on either computer, so I think all traces of the app are gone.

I posted the wiki because it was late and I was on my way to bed. After hearing what Bel said as well as your investigation I personally have no more issues with using the app.

That was nice of you to take the time and help investigate this for Daniel. You or I mite be able to pull off the above but its my guess that this is the kind of thing he does not like.



“Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

 

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