by 👩💻 Alice Monroe
On Tuesday 29th, the US heralded what was known as ‘National Privacy Day’ – an initiative backed by the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who took to Twitter to extoll its virtues. However, while Cook’s message may have been innocent enough, it appears that poor timing led to his firm announcing and acknowledging that there has been an exploit available in their popular FaceTime app which allows access to eavesdroppers.
According to BBC News, the reported bug in the popular video-conferencing software – a staple of iPhones and iPads – would allow Apple device users to send audio and even video to callers even if they didn’t agree to pick up. This flaw, while not affecting all users, was raised by popular industry blog 9to5Mac, leading news to travel all the way to the very top of the chain. The exploit could mean that many iPhone and Mac users could have been delivering sound and vision to callers without receivers ever having knowledge. 9to5Mac in fact advised that blocking calls or switching off devices may have delivered full video as well as audio to recipients.
FaceTime Bug In Apple Devices [video]
Apple has been quick to acknowledge the worrying bug, having advised that they are currently working on a fix to the issue expected to be rolled out in a few days’ time. It’s thought that the main users at stake will be those using the app on iOS 12.1 or newer, though, as stated, some Mac users may also be affected.
The eavesdropping exploit is thought to come into play when a group chat is initiated, and as such, Apple has reportedly disabled the app from allowing such connections as a temporary measure.
Many have advised that, until an update arrives, simply switching off FaceTime altogether may be a worthwhile measure – especially if it is something you don’t use too often, if at all.
Apple’s recent push to hold privacy in high regard may have been dealt a fairly large blow with the news of this recent bug – its revelation is being regarded as fairly poor timing indeed – the firm will likely double down and continue to push for privacy credentials ahead of their latest device reveals at some point during the latter half of 2019. In a year where the firm has also had to handle a few shaky moments on the stock market, 2019 could prove to be a challenge for Apple in general.
Flaw in FaceTime Allows Others to Listen in Before You Answer Call [video]