Apple said Friday it had fixed a software bug that could allow iPhone users to see people through its FaceTime calling application even before they answered the phone. Earlier this week, Apple disabled the feature known as Group FaceTime calling, following media reports of the security lapse.
Group FaceTime Security bug was a matter of concern for the company.
“We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple’s servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week,” Apple said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue.”
A video posted on social media before Apple shut off the feature showed how to take advantage of the flaw and listen in on an iPhone being called using FaceTime.
According to US media, a 14-year-old Arizona boy discovered the flaw and his mother struggled for a week to get Apple’s attention. “My fear is that this flaw could be used for nefarious purposes,” Michele Thompson wrote to Apple, according to reports.
Thompson was reportedly initially told she had to register as a developer to report a software bug before the flaw became public. Apple acknowledged the help in its statement, saying: “We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug.”
The bug allows a user to call someone on FaceTime and automatically begin hearing the other person before they pick up the call. The other person isn’t aware that the caller can hear them. The bug, confirmed by Bloomberg News, happens when a user creates a FaceTime conference call, puts in their phone number, and then adds the number of another person.
This was clearly a big privacy issue considering almost everyone with an iOS device tends to use FaceTime. While one can snoop-in on conversations, the FaceTime call does ring like it should, so it isn’t completely intrusive.
Considering the same Apple suspended the Group Facetime call immediately after the report.