Apple releases fix for FaceTime bug

Apple has finally released a software update that fixes a FaceTime bug that allowed people to eavesdrop on the conversations of other iPhone users, according to a 9to5mac report.

Released on Thursday (Feb.7th), iOS 12.1.4, re-enables FaceTime’s group call feature.

After the bug was discovered last month, Apple temporarily disabled FaceTime in an attempt to prevent people from exploiting the bug.

FaceTime bug

The bug was discovered by a 14-year-old boy from Arizona, whose mother Michelle Thompson then reported the issue to Apple.

The company was slow to respond to Michelle Thompson’s requests to fix the issue but later thanked the family for reporting the bug.

“Today’s software update fixes the security bug in Group FaceTime. We again apologise to our customers and we thank them for their patience,” Apple said in a statement confirming the update.

“In addition to addressing the bug that was reported, our team conducted a thorough security audit of the FaceTime service and made additional updates to both the FaceTime app and server to improve security.

“This includes a previously unidentified vulnerability in the Live Photos feature of FaceTime. To protect customers who have not yet upgraded to the latest software, we have updated our servers to block the Live Photos feature of FaceTime for older versions of iOS and macOS.”

Apple said it will compensate the Thompson family for reporting the bug and said it will contribute money towards the education of Grant Thompson, the teenager who first discovered the bug.

Apple has already been hit with a lawsuit after the bug allowed an unknown individual to eavesdrop on a private conversation between a lawyer and his client.

Government questions

Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee also sent a letter to CEO Tim Cook demanding answers relating to the bug.

“As a first step, we believe it is important for Apple to be transparent about its investigation into the Group FaceTime feature’s vulnerability and the steps it is taking to protect consumers’ privacy,” it states. “To date, we do not believe Apple has been as transparent as this serious issue requires.”

In the letter, the Committee asked the company whether they knew about the bug before being informed by Mr. Thompson’s mother.

They requested a full timeline of the steps that the company took to rectify the issue. The Committee also wants to know about any other undisclosed bugs which could lead to unauthorised access to an iOS device’s microphone or camera.

The news comes after Apple responded to a TechCrunch report that revealed some apps are using a screen recording code to record users’ actions without their consent.

Apple has asked major app developers to either remove the code or disclose it properly to the end user and ask for consent.


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