How Apple's FaceTime bug was first discovered

World

30 Jan 2019

Scary stuff: This 14-year-old boy first discovered Apple's FaceTime bug

Apple recently made the headlines for a bug in its video calling service FaceTime that allowed a user to hear audio and see those they were reaching out to even before their call was answered.

Now, a woman from the US has claimed that her 14-year-old son had discovered the bug last week, and had even warned Apple about it.

Here are the details.

Details

A discussion about Fortnite on FaceTime led to the discovery

A discussion about Fortnite on FaceTime led to the discovery

Last week, Michele G Thompson, a lawyer from Arizona, tweeted that her son had discovered the FaceTime bug.

She claimed that her 14-year-old son, Grant, discovered the bug on January 19 while talking to his friends about popular battle royale game Fortnite on a group FaceTime call.

The bug went public this week.

READ: Thompson's initial tweet about the bug

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Warnings

Thompson claimed she tried to warn Apple and its users

After her son informed her about the bug, Thompson claimed that she verified it herself, and spent most of her week trying to warn people that they could be spied upon.

She said that she had sent emails, Facebook messages, several tweets, and a fax about the bug, and had even filed a bug report before news about the bug went public.

READ: An excerpt from a warning email sent to Apple

Apple

Apple has promised a fix by this week's end

Apple has promised a fix by this week's end

After the bug went public, Apple promptly disabled the group calling function of FaceTime, and the service will remain suspended till the company releases a software patch to fix the issue.

Following its discovery, even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asked his 4.13 million followers to disable FaceTime.

Apple has promised that the patch will be out some time this week.

Bug details

What you need to know about the bug

The bug triggers from FaceTime's 'Add Person' option and lets anyone access your phone's microphone.

So, in essence, you'd see an incoming FaceTime call but won't realize the other person might be listening in on what you're saying.

More worryingly, when you tap the power or volume-down button, FaceTime gives the caller access to your front camera feed (with the call still not answered).

Use

How the FaceTime bug can be triggered

How the FaceTime bug can be triggered

The FaceTime bug can be triggered by starting a call with any iPhone contact and switching to group calling.

For this, swipe up the screen while making a call and hit the 'Add Person' option.

Then, enter your own number on the 'Add Person' screen to switch into a group call. Voila! You will start getting the audio feed from the recipient's end.

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