FaceTime is a video-calling application developed by Apple for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Unlike similar services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Skype, FaceTime exclusively supports one-on-one calling and can only be used to call someone with a compatible Apple device.
Group FaceTime was originally introduced on October 30th with iOS 12.1. A lockscreen security flaw was discovered after few days of the iOS 12.1 release, involving the new Group FaceTime feature. A lot of users are still confused as to whether they should be upgrading to iOS 12 or not. The confusion is mainly because of the fact that on one hand, they are very excited about the new features but on the other hand, there are reports of bugs, broken apps and these features that the users may find annoying.
Recently, a significant bug has been discovered in FaceTime app which lets you call anyone with FaceTime and immediately hear the audio coming from their phone before the person on the other end has accepted or rejected this incoming call. It turned the device of the recipient of a FaceTime call into a microphone while the call was still ringing. If the recipient pressed the power button on the side of the device, their phone would begin broadcasting video to the initial caller.
This technique involves using the FaceTime app group chat function, apparently confusing the software into activating the target’s microphone, even if the call has not been accepted. It’s not clear how long this latest FaceTime flaw has existed, but it could have been exploited for as long as 3 months rumor says.
That’s How Apple Responded to the Bug
Apple has temporarily disabled the Group FaceTime feature that was linked to the security bug. The company says that “We were aware of the issue, and expected to release a software fix later this week”, expected to be iOS 12.2.
Apple’s system status page shows that “Group FaceTime is temporarily unavailable”. The company appears to have prevented any further exploitation of the bug.
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Data Privacy Day – The Embarrassment for Apple
The dangers are real and the consequences are too important, says Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in one of his tweet, hours before the bug was first revealed to the public.
“We must keep fighting for the kind of world we want to live in. On this #DataPrivacyDay let us all insist on action and reform for vital privacy protections. The dangers are real and the consequences are too important.” – He wrote.
The flaw was discovered on Data Privacy Day in the US & later the users were advised to disable their FaceTime app immediately until it gets fixed by the Apple. New York governor Andrew Cuomo warned the residents of New York on Tuesday about the FaceTime security bug & advised to disable their FaceTime app until a fix is made available, he urges Apple to release the fix without delay.
The Law Suit
According to CNBC: A Houston lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the company over this security glitch that went Viral on Monday evening.
He alleges that “the company knew, or should have known” & claims that Apple failed to notify users of the risk of harm in using the app and that caused him professional harm. The suit claims says that the filer was “undergoing a private deposition with a client when this defective product breached allowed for the recording” of the conversation. Source: Gizmodo.
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How To Disable FaceTime on iPhone, iPad or Mac
To disable the app in your iPhone, iPad or Mac, you just need to follow these steps:
For iPhone or iPad:
- Go to the Settings application.
- Scroll down & find FaceTime icon
- Switch button from green to grey
For Mac Users:
- Open the FaceTime app on your Mac
- Click FaceTime in the Menu bar
- Click Turn off FaceTime