How would you feel if you knew that a caller could eavesdrop on your conversation even if you hadn’t answered their call? Well a 14-year-old boy in Arizona discovered this when he was group Facetiming his friends and he could hear someone who hadn’t answered their phone.
This glitch enabled a person to hear live audio on another other person's phone, even though the recipient had not accepted the FaceTime call. In some cases, the bug could also show live video of the other person if they pressed a volume button to dismiss the call.
The boy’s mother, Michele Thompson tried to warn Apple about the issue by calling, emailing, tweeting at, and even faxing the company, but Apple did not publicly address the problem until it was shared online by other iPhone users.
Facetime Eavesdropping Bug Videos Went Viral on Social Media
After people began sharing videos of it in action on social media. Apple disabled the Group FaceTime feature for all users while it worked on a software fix for the issue. The bug worked on iPhones and iPads running iOS 12.1, and Apple PCs running macOS Mojave, which recently added the Group FaceTime feature.
This was Apples statement after this "We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple's servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week,"
"We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue."
Apple to Reward Teen for Discovering the Bug
Grant Thompson, the 14-year old who discovered the bug is eligible for the company’s bug bounty program which was set up in 2016 offering rewards of up to $200,000 for security researchers who find vulnerabilities on the company’s software platforms. It’s not clear how much Grant Thompson can expect to claim from Apple.
Apple released a statement saying it will compensate the Thompson family for discovering the vulnerability and provide an additional gift to fund Grant Thompson’s tuition. Apple hasn’t revealed exactly how much it’s paying the Thompson family.
Apple Facebook Ban
Apple had banned Facebook from downloading apps after it was reported that Facebook was paying teens to collect their browsing data. You can read more about this here. This glitch brings us to question the privacy of our lives in today’s digital age and how safe our data really is?