iOS bug turns FaceTime into spying tool

by | 29-01-2019 | News

A newfound bug in FaceTime lets a caller immediately hear the recipient’s audio – before that person has either accepted or rejected the call. This means you can listen in on somebody while their phone is ringing without them knowing, up until they interact with their device.

The privacy issues this creates are being addressed by Apple, and the bug should be fixed in a software update later this week. In the meantime, Apple have made the FaceTime group call server “temporarily unavailable”. This will stop the privacy threat until the update is released.

This is how the bug worked:
When you’d start a FaceTime Video call with someone, you can swipe up and select Add Person. You then added your own phone number to the call, thereby starting a group call. This let you hear your own audio – and the audio of the person you were calling, even if they hadn’t picked up.

There was even the possibility of accessing the recipient’s front camera too. However, they would have to press the volume down button while their device was ringing for it to work. This let the caller see all the camera registers.

The bug was effective on the iOS versions 12.1 and later.

Even though the server containing the bug might be disabled, you can be sure no one can use the bug to listen in on your private conversations by turning on ‘Do Not Disturb’. More effectively still, you can turn off FaceTime altogether via the settings menu on your device.

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