Apple releases bug fix for embarrassing security flaw that allowed FaceTime eavesdropping

08 February, 2019, 15:24 | Author: Patty Hardy
  • Apple has released a software update that fixes a glitch that allowed users to listen to and watch other Face Time callers

The major security issue in Group FaceTime that was unveiled late last month is now finally fixed with the iOS 12.1.4 update that started rolling out to all supported Apple devices today.

The bug enabled interlopers to turn an iPhone into a live microphone while using Group FaceTime.

"While these are wonderful tools when used right, the serious privacy issue with Group FaceTime demonstrates how these devices can also become the ultimate spying machines", Pallone and Schakowsky said.

Apple told outlets that a fix would come later that week, but it instead arrived this week, delivering to the iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later and the 6th generation iPod touch. It remains unclear how long Apple was aware of the Group FaceTime security flaw. The arrival of the new version of iOS comes just two days after a pair of congressmen sent a letter (which you can read here) to CEO Tim Cook that included a list of questions they'd like him to answer in the wake of the bug. The company pulled the Group Chat feature from FaceTime shortly after the security flaw was revealed. In the days following, it was discovered that the mother of United States teen Grant Thompson alerted the company a week before it took action; Apple is reportedly rewarding the family per its bug hunting policy.

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If they are, you'll see the upgrade displayed on the screen with a Download and Install option also visible.

Apple has also credited Grant for discovering the FaceTime bug in its software update, almost a week after thanking him for reporting the it in the first place.

The recommended way to update your devices is to tap Settings General Software Update and carry out the update from there.

Following the release of these patches, the system status page on Apple's website has also been updated to reflect the situation.

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