Massive FaceTime Privacy Flaw Revealed

Apple bug let users eavesdrop in secret
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2019 7:33 AM CST
Bug Let FaceTime Users Watch, Eavesdrop in Secret
A couple interacts with their 2-year-old daughter's kidney donor during a FaceTime conversation in Winston Salem, NC, on Nov. 15, 2017.   (Laura Greene /The High Point Enterprise via AP)

Anyone might've gained access to a FaceTime user's conversations and live camera footage via a bug Apple is now racing to fix. The website 9to5Mac first reported Monday that a bug in Apple's Group FaceTime feature allowed an iPhone or iPad user to call another user and listen to their device's microphone before the recipient accepted or rejected the call. New York Times reporter Brian X. Chen found he could replicate the issue by adding his own phone number to a FaceTime call after it had been placed.

Perhaps more alarming, "if the recipient hit the volume-down or volume-up buttons during this process, the caller could also see a live video feed of the recipient's front-facing iPhone camera," Chen writes. Per 9to5Mac, this also occurred if the recipient pressed the power button. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it an "egregious breach of privacy" in a Monday statement as Apple disabled Group FaceTime. "We're aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week," the company says. The Verge recommends disabling FaceTime in the meantime. (Read more FaceTime stories.)

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