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A security issue with Zoom

When my brother asked me to download and install Zoom, the app's security lapses were already in the headlines, so I can't plead ignorance. But what the hell, I'm a thousand miles away and I wanted to see my siblings and nieces and nephews in a Brady Bunch format, so I installed Zoom on my laptop.

I'll skip writing a review about the ordinary technical glitches, and how half of every conversation seems to be everyone saying "I can't see you" and "Mark dropped off," and how the sound was so unreliable that I often used the "chat" function instead of actually speaking. All that's beside the point.

What you need to know is that I don't like to be on camera. My apartment is a mess, I'm a mess, and I'm usually sitting here in my underwear, or less. I'm an introvert, so I simply never invite anyone into my home, and inviting a camera into my home falls under the same rule, so — nope. That's why I installed Zoom on a computer that doesn't have a camera, leaving no possibility that anyone could see anything I don't want them to see. Or so I thought.

Instead, I found an amusing picture online, of someone even older than me, and added that as my Zoom profile picture. When I Zoomed with my family, I could see and hear everyone, and they could hear me, but they could only see this gentleman's photo. Our first three Zooms, everything went fine except for the ordinary glitches that plague every Zoom meeting.

Our fourth family Zoom was tonight. We're chatting as usual, and as usual I'm not saying much because like I said, I'm an introvert. On the big tic-tac-toe board, top-left is my brother, top-center is an old friend, and top-right is my silly photo of this unknown man. The middle and bottom rows are my mother, my sister, a nephew and a couple of my nieces. It's all very wholesome.

Without warning, without me touching anything, the on-screen photo of the old guy is gone. Instead it's this silly "success" meme. →

The photo and the meme are both on my computer, but they're not even in the same folder. I never uploaded the meme to Zoom — Zoom helped itself.

My sister and nephew are reading the meme out loud, wondering what it means and what happened to the photo. My Mom says, "Well, that doesn't look 'successful' to me."

And I'm thinking of all the other JPGs on my computer that Zoom could've randomly shared with my family — including my collection of pornography.

After several seconds in shock, I closed the program, leaving the conversation without another word. I sent the family a quick email announcing my resignation from Zoom, and uninstalled it. There's a fairly major glitch in Zoom's software. You have been warned.

 

itsdougholland.com 

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