Apple finally fixes FaceTime privacy bug and credits teen who found it

Apple finally fixes FaceTime privacy bug and credits teen who found it

A USA teenager who discovered a security flaw in Apple's FaceTime video-calling system has been given a bug bounty.

Apple initially said it would release updates to macOS and iOS addressing the flaw within a few days of its public disclosure. Macs are also getting an updated version of macOS 10.14.3 to fix the Group FaceTime flaw, as this feature is also built into that platform.

The bug enabled interlopers to turn an iPhone into a live microphone while using Group FaceTime.

Thompson figured out that he could essentially force a call to connect to a selected device by simply attempting to Group FaceTime call another person before the first had answered. This includes a previously unidentified vulnerability in the Live Photos feature of FaceTime. They could also sometimes see your video if you pressed the side button to silence the call.

After Grant and his friends stumbled on the issue and were able to recreate it several times, Grant told his mother, Michelle Thompson, who reached out to Apple about the flaw.


Apple Insider reports that has confirmed it will reward the teen for uncovering the exploit, providing the family with compensation for finding the bug as well as helping towards the teenager's future education costs. "The issue was addressed with improved state management".

While they were at it, Apple also slipped in two other security updates in the iOS and macOS releases for vulnerabilities they found Foundation and IOKit that could lead to code execution or privilege escalation.

Did Apple fix the bug? Apple has not stated if they are planning on doing so.

The iOS 12.1.4 update is compatible with all the iPhone and iPad models running iOS 12. These will download in the background and install overnight when the device is connected to mains power.

You can read the full security update details here.

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