| Cult of Mac

5 Zoom alternatives to keep you connected during COVID-19 crisis

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Zoom definitely isn't your only option for videoconferencing. Check out these Zoom alternatives, including Houseparty.
Zoom definitely isn't your only option for videoconferencing.
Photo: Life on Air

Zoom might be the best video-conferencing app, but that’s a bit like saying Facebook is the best social network. It might be true 1, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel dirty if you use it. Despite a seemingly never-ending stream of privacy violations, security holes and utter disregard for its customers, Zoom is still being used as the de facto standard video conferencing and broadcasting tool during the COVID-19 crisis.

We’ve already seen the problems with Zoom. And we’ve also shown you how to protect yourself if you choose to use Zoom despite the company’s many privacy missteps. (Zoom pledged to do better this week.) But what about other services you could rely on during the coronavirus shutdown? Read on. We have five great Zoom alternatives you can use.

Amid booming popularity, Zoom commits to improved security and privacy

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Zoom promises to work harder to protect user privacy.
Millions have turned to the Zoom video-conferencing service, but it’s also facing criticism for security lapses.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom had over 200 million daily meeting participants in March, about 20x the average, as people isolate themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this video conferencing service faces criticism for a lack of security. That’s why Zoom CEO Eric Yuan on Thursday stopped all work on adding new features to its software to instead focus on fixing problems with privacy and public trust.

Using Zoom? Take these steps to protect your privacy [Updated]

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yoga class zoom
Zoom lets you keep attending your local yoga class, but at what cost?
Photo: Anupam Mahapatra/Unsplash

Video-conferencing tool Zoom is seeing a surge in use during the coronavirus pandemic, due to people being stuck at home and unable to meet in meatspace groups. I’ve read about people using Zoom to drop in on yoga and pilates classes, as well as for more usual business-related activities.

Zoom removes controversial code that shares data with Facebook

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Zoom
Get the latest update today.
Photo: Zoom

Video conferencing app Zoom has removed controversial code that shared user data to Facebook — even when those users didn’t have a Facebook account.

Zoom insists the data collected did not include personal information, but rather anonymous information about a user’s device. It has apologized for the “oversight” and made changes to the Facebook login process to prevent it.

Zoom shares data with Facebook even about non-Facebook users [Updated]

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Zoom video conferencing for Mac
Zoom became very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has some sketchy privacy practices.
Photo: Zoom

The Zoom video conferencing app has been a lifesaver for many people unexpectedly forced to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak. But privacy experts have raised concerns that this app shares more user data than many might realize. That includes the iOS version reportedly sending information to Facebook, even about users who don’t have a Facebook account.

Update: Zoom has removed this controversial code.

Make Apple Watch easier to read with built-in Zoom

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zoom apple watch
Zoooom!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Even though the Apple Watch is just a tiny little computer on your wrist, it still packs plenty of accessibility options. And one of the most useful — and accessible — of these options is Zoom. This built-in feature lets you hold a virtual magnifying glass over the watch’s display, and then scroll across this expanded view to make reading easy.

Today we’re going to see how to switch on Apple Watch Zoom, how to use it and — maybe most important — how to switch it off again.

Two more video chat apps have eavesdropping problems

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The CIA has a team of more than 5,000 hackers.
This is what a hacker looks like. Yes, all of them!
Photo: Brian Klug/Flickr CC

Following the revelation of a Zoom security vulnerability that potentially let hackers break into users’ webcams, similar problems have been found in two other video chat apps.

The conferencing services in question are RingCentral and Zhumu. The flaw means that malicious websites could potentially open up secret video conferences with anyone who has installed the apps.

Apple fixes major Zoom video conferencing security flaw

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Zoom video conferencing for Mac
These people all know they are on a Zoom call.
Photo: Zoom

Mac users who’ve used the Zoom video conferencing application can now be assured that a serious security flaw has been dealt with. Apple pushed out a patch that removed the vulnerability from every Mac, without users needing to do anything.

Before the fix, the flaw potentially let malicious websites force people into Zoom video calls.

Zoom rushes to fix its webcam-accessing flaw on Macs

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Apple offers up to $1.5 million to anyone who spots a software flaw
Flaw allowed hackers to access other people's webcams.
Photo: United Artists

Zoom conference calls are as much of a part of modern office working life as disagreements about the air-con system.

But security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh recently stumbled upon something extremely concerning. As discovered by Leitschuh, Zoom featured a vulnerability that allowed hackers to break into a target’s Mac webcam. This happened regardless of whether the Mac user was using Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

Fortunately, Zoom has, well, zoomed to correct it.

Dropbox overhauls its Mac app, adds a bunch of awesome features

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Dropbox-overhaul
Try it out today.
Photo: Dropbox

Dropbox wants to be the only app you use on your Mac to access your most important files — wherever they are stored.

Its overhauled desktop client brings all your favorite cloud services together inside an all-new design with a bunch of awesome new features. It’s more than an app, Dropbox says, “it’s a completely new experience.”