Massive FaceTime privacy bug lets people eavesdrop on audio and video calls before they've been answered -- and Apple doesn't have a fix yet
Apple is scrambling to fix a serious bug that has been discovered in its FaceTime messaging services. The bug makes it possible to spy on the people being called, even if the call is not picked up.
This is a serious privacy issue, as it gives someone the ability to secretly eavesdrop on someone -- or even watch them -- without their knowledge. At the moment, Apple does not have a fix but the company says it is working on the problem and will address it by the end of the week. In the meantime, you may want to consider disabling FaceTime on your iOS device.
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The privacy-invading bug was first reported by 9to5Mac who shared details of just how simple the glitch is to exploit. It involves nothing more than placing a call to someone, and then adding yourself to the conversation -- a connection is immediately established complete with audio and video, regardless of whether the call has been answered or not.
Various Twitter users have shared video footage of the bug in action, including Benji Mobb:
— Benji Mobb™ (@BmManski) January 28, 2019
The problem appears to affect devices running iOS 12.1 or later, and while Apple is yet to produce a proper fix, the company has disabled group FaceTime server-side, but it's not clear that this completely resolves the issue.
This is a rare slip-up for Apple, and it's one that is going to cause many users to question the company's famous attention to detail and focus on security. Speaking to BuzzFeed, Apple said that it is "aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week".
Until the fix is released, you may want to disable FaceTime to maintain your privacy and security.