In the last few days, Apple users have uncovered a Facetime bug that allows them to listen in on other Apple users on the receiving end of a Facetime call before they even pick up. Apple is working on a fix and hopes to have it out this week. For now, the group Facetime function is disabled.
Axios reported the update, also sharing that this significant bug comes at a pretty inopportune time. Yesterday, the day the bug was discovered, was Data Privacy Day and this is a pretty egregious privacy lapse that, hopefully, didn’t result in any important espionage before the function was disabled. "We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week,” Apple told the publication. The poor timing of this mishap is amplified by CEO Tim Cook’s tweet below, which celebrates Data Privacy Day.
We must keep fighting for the kind of world we want to live in. On this #DataPrivacyDay let us all insist on action and reform for vital privacy protections. The dangers are real and the consequences are too important.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) January 28, 2019
The Facetime worked by adding yourself to Facetime call as you’re already initiating a call with someone else. This would start a group call and include the audio of the person you were originally calling, even if they hadn’t picked up the call just yet. It essentially looked like the person had joined the group call already.
While this only would work as long as the person was being called, it provided an opportunity to listen in on conversations without the person being called ever knowing. It was brought to the attention of many on yesterday, but it is possible it was being exploited before this point.
The service for group Facetime is disabled, so there’s no additional action needed from Apple users. We’ll keep an eye out for additional updates and report them as they roll in, so stay tuned to Shacknews so you’ll know when you can get back to roasting your friends in a group call.