Apple rushes to fix FaceTime eavesdropping bug

Apple rushes to fix FaceTime eavesdropping bug

Tested and verified by nine.com.au, the bug seems to rely on the FaceTime Group Call feature launched by Apple past year. Under certain circumstances, the glitch also allowed callers to see the person they were calling before they picked up. This begins a FaceTime call and enables the microphone of the recipient before they answer.

Apple said it has developed a fix and the update would be rolled out this week. At this point in time, disabling FaceTime or immediately dismissing FaceTime calls appear to be the only protection against snooping.

9to5Mac report states that it reproduced the FaceTime bug with an iPhone X calling an iPhone XR, but it claims that the bug could affect any pair of iOS devices running iOS 12.1 or later. Though the bug has been segmented on group calls, individual FaceTime calls can still be affected.

The bug, which was ironically uncovered on Data Privacy Day, has drawn a lot of attention. Originally reported by 9to5Mac, the bug allows callers to enable audio on the receiver's device before they've even answered the phone.

It is activated when you call someone via FaceTime, swipe up to add another person to the call, and add your own phone number. If the recipient hit the power or volume button, the phone would broadcast video as well, the Vergereported.

Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of NY, issued a statement saying that the "FaceTime bug is an egregious breach of privacy that puts New Yorkers at risk".

That said, this FaceTime incident is a serious blow to Apple's carefully constructed image of the champion of privacy.

On your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, head to Settings - FaceTime and then toggle the button right at the top to set FaceTime on or off (a green button on screen indicates FaceTime is on).

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Director of Cybersecurity stated: "The FaceTime bug works in both iOS and MacOC".

This is why you should consider disabling it until Apple gets around to rolling out the software update with the recommended fix.

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