Apple Watch vulnerability allowed iPhone eavesdropping

Science

11 Jul 2019

Apple Watch vulnerability allowed spying on iPhones: Here's how

A critical vulnerability has been flagged in the Walkie-Talkie app of the Apple Watch.

The issue, detected just recently, allows a person to use the smartwatch as a way to spy on another user's iPhone.

It poses a major threat to privacy, but the good news is, Apple has already taken note of the matter and is working on a fix.

Here's more.

Details

Bug allows listening in on iPhones

Apple recently issued a statement to TechCrunch confirming the existence of the critical vulnerability in Walkie-Talkie app.

The company didn't provide specific details (for obvious reasons) but said the issue allows an Apple Watch user to listen in on the iPhone of another user without consent.

Now, this has drastic privacy implications as one could use this glitch to eavesdrop on a person.

Exploit

No exploit evidence detected yet

No exploit evidence detected yet

Meanwhile, Apple is investigating the matter but has clearly stated that there is no evidence indicating the bug has been exploited to spy on any iPhone user.

In fact, it seems the exploit of the issue is pretty complicated as it requires "specific conditions and sequences of events" to be executed.

We expect more details of the issue once its fix is out.

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Fix

Fix already in the works

Having said that, it's worth noting that Apple has already started working on a fix for the issue.

The company has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app to prevent the vulnerability from being exploited until the fix is released.

There is no timeline for the release, but we don't think Apple will keep the app disabled for too long.

App

Walkie-Talkie allows instant audio message transmission

Walkie-Talkie allows instant audio message transmission

To recall, Walkie-Talkie debuted as an extension of FaceTime on watchOS 5.

The app serves as a push-to-talk solution that lets you hold fun, voice conversations at the touch of a button, like a real Walkie-Talkie.

Not to mention, this issue comes just a few months after a critical privacy-breaching issue in FaceTime allowed users to listen in on calls before someone picked up.

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