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Home / Technology / Apple Disables Group FaceTime for Vulnerabilities Let the callers secretly intercept: NPR

Apple Disables Group FaceTime for Vulnerabilities Let the callers secretly intercept: NPR



An Apple manager talks about the FaceTime group while announcing new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple deactivated the FaceTime group yesterday after discovering a bug where callers are listening to recipients before answering a call.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP


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Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

An Apple manager talks about the FaceTime group while announcing new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple deactivated the FaceTime group yesterday after discovering a mistake that made callers eavesdropping before they answered a call.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

A glitch in Apple's FaceTime app allows users to hear the other person – and in some cases watch video – even if the recipient has never answered the call. The error was widely reported late Monday and confirmed by several technology reporters. Until it provides a permanent solution, Apple has simply disabled face calls from FaceTime.

It is an unusual misstep for a company that is proud of its strict privacy policy. And in an environment where privacy protection is being looked at in more detail, it happens that a new Congress is considering adopting stricter regulations for technology companies like Facebook, which are often accused of violating the privacy of users 9to5Mac wrote that the mistake "that has spread viral through social media", "that you can immediately hear how the sound comes from your phone". The publication listed a detailed sequence of steps required to reproduce the error. This included launching a FaceTime video call with an iPhone contact and adding a phone number to the call immediately. The phone is tempted to start a FaceTime group call and activate the other person's audio signal. If the receiver pressed the power or volume button, the phone would also broadcast video, reported the Verge .

"The damage potential is real," wrote 9to5Mac. "You can listen to the soundbites of a running iPhone user without knowing that you could hear them, until Apple fixes the bug, it's not clear how you can defend against this attack, except for completely disabling." FaceTime. " The bug only worked on devices upgraded to iOS 12.1, which introduced group video calls. In a statement made available to USA Today and other media, Apple says that "this issue is known and we have found an update that will be released later this week in a software update." Last night, the company temporarily disabled the entire FaceTime functionality of the group.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo urged the New Yorkers to turn off FaceTime until the problem was resolved. "The FaceTime error is a monstrous violation of privacy," Cuomo said in a statement that New York Post reports. "I am deeply disturbed by this irresponsible mistake that can be exploited for unscrupulous purposes."

It is not clear how long the vulnerability existed. The group FaceTime was introduced on October 30th, and according to Verge the error "could be exploited for three months".

The glitch may panic investors already in alarm Apple said it had lowered its revenue expectations this quarter, reflecting lower demand for iPhones and unexpected difficulties in the Chinese market. Apple's fourth quarter 2018 results are scheduled for today.


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