September 16, 2019

FaceTime glitch lets people eavesdrop on others; Apple rushes to fix the bug

ISLAMABAD: Apple rushed to fix the glitch in its video app FaceTime after it was found out that bug could allow people to listen to others and watch them on video even when the other person would not pick up the call. 

The incident was first reported by the website  9TO5Mac. According to the blog post, when the person would make  Facetime call, the bug would turn on the microphone, thereby allowing the initial caller to listen to the other person even though the call is not accepted. Not only that, if the receiver presses the power button to ignore or reject the call, the bug would enable the video feature and start a video chat for the initial caller.

Expressing concern on this development, the blog post writer Benjamin Mayo noted: “The damage potential here is real. You can listen in to soundbites of any iPhone user’s ongoing conversation without them ever knowing that you could hear them. Until Apple fixes the bug, it’s not clear how to defend yourself against this attack either aside from disabling FaceTime altogether.”

Apple has acknowledged the bug while talking to Reuters and said: “We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.”

Apple has also disabled the Group FaceTime feature temporarily as it was found out that the glitch could also enable the initial caller to start a group chat without the knowledge of the other person.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information comes in. 

Written by

Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.

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