Apple fixes iPhone bug that allowed people to eavesdrop on FaceTime calls

Apple pushes fix for “FacePalm,” possibly its creepiest vulnerability ever

EnlargeApple

Apple credited 14-year-old Grant Thompson of Tucson, Arizona, for discovering the bug, almost a week after thanking him for reporting the flaw in the first place.

It's unclear how much money Apple is paying the Thompson family, though the tech giant says that it is also providing funding for Grant Thompson's college tuition along with additional monetary compensation.

At the end of January, videos started circulating on social media about a serious bug in iOS and macOS that allowed users to initiate a Group FaceTime call and listen in on those they were calling without that person answering the call or even knowing that their microphone was activated.

As often occurs when people flag software flaws, Grant will be rewarded for his sleuthing.

During the audit of FaceTime, Apple also discovered another bug in Live Photos that was related to FaceTime.

Gowdy Urges Acting AG Whitaker to Blow off Congressional Testimony
He criticized the committee for prematurely and unnecessarily authorizing a subpoena for him even though he had agreed to appear. Jerrold Nadler of NY , approved a tentative subpoena to ensure that Whitaker appears Friday and answers questions.

How did the bug work?

Details of this new bug and how it could be exploited were not disclosed by Apple.

This happened for as long as the call was ringing, and ended when the call was rejected or timed out. Meanwhile, do note that the Group FaceTime will not be available to users that didn't upgrade to the latest version of iOS and macOS.

That led the company to temporarily disable the Group FaceTime feature altogether as it worked on finding a patch.

The bug exposed Apple customers to potential surveillance at a time when CEO Tim Cook has been repeatedly declaring personal privacy is a "fundamental human right".

Cook also has publicly skewered Facebook and Google, two companies that collect personal information to sell advertising, for not doing enough to protect people's privacy.

Latest News