Regardless of the fact that you own or don’t own an Apple device, you must have heard about the serious security bug in the FaceTime app. It is all over the news, and it should be.
The FaceTime App Bug Explained
Shortly said, the bug allows users to eavesdrop or watch the individual they are calling before that person has even answered the call. The scariest part is that the bug doesn’t require technical insight or hacking skills. The bug can be triggered by following a few simple steps to add the ringing call to a group chat.
Needless to say, the bug is a huge privacy issue as it allows eavesdropping and spying on any iOS user. Nevertheless, there is no indication on the recipient’s side that you could hear any of their audio. Researchers at 9to5Mac demonstrated how the bug works.
What has Apple done so far to secure the issue? The company has the FaceTime app offline until an update is released. iPhone owners should turn off the app until the patch is available.
Who Discovered the FaceTime Bug?
Apparently, a mother and son from Arizona tried to warn Apple about the huge privacy bug over a week ago. Michele Thompson and her 14-year-old son made several attempts to warn the tech company, but they were ignored, the BBC reported.
The Wall Street Journal said that Ms Thompson who is a lawyer, started contacting Apple on January 20th. Five days since her first attempts, she posted a video on YouTube where she and her son demonstrate the FaceTime vulnerability.
On Monday, when the news about bug went viral , Ms Thompson shared that she has all sorts of communications with the company:
I have letters, emails, tweets and msgs. sent to Apple for 10+ days reporting the Group FaceTime bug that lets someone listen in. My teenager discovered it! Never heard back from them.
After several emails w/ Apple, they told me I could register as a developer to submit the bug report which I did (even though I’m the farthest thing from a developer),” she added.
The woman also sent an email directly to product-security@apple with full details of the discovery. She is also hoping that her 14-year-old son will be rewarded for reporting the bug.
The Consequences: Apple Facing Lawsuit
To no one’s surprise, Apple is facing a lawsuit following the disclosure of the FaceTime flaw. According to Bloomberg, the suit was lodged in a Houston, Texas, court by a lawyer claiming the FaceTime bug enabled an unknown party to eavesdrop on a private call he was conducting with a client.
Court documents reveal that Larry Williams II said the intrusion occurred as he was taking sworn testimony during a client deposition. Further details were not offered by the report. However, the presumption is that Williams received a call as he conducted the deposition via FaceTime.
The case is Williams v Apple Inc., 2019-06645, 133 Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas (Houston), Bloomberg informed.