Jan 30, 2019

Apple FaceTime Privacy Bug allowed Possible Spying

A bug in FaceTime was founded recently that allowed you to place a call to someone, but listen in on their microphone if they didn’t pick up. Also, it later turned out that there was also a way to capture video from the camera on the target device.

The bug relied entirely on Group FaceTime Feature. So, if you are using an older version of iOS or macOS that doesn't support Group FaceTime, you have nothing to fear.

How did the bug work?
  1. You would have to place a FaceTime call to your intended victim.
  2. While the call is still ringing, you would need to bring up the Add Person screen and add yourself to the call. Doing this would invoke Group FaceTime, and the microphone of the intended target would be activated, even if they didn’t answer.
  3. If recipient pressed the power button on the phone to “decline” the call, the camera would turn on as well. Alternately, you could apparently join the call from another device, which would also turn on the recipient’s camera.

Apple has temporarily disabled Group FaceTime on their servers. This means that you can no longer add people to a FaceTime call, so the bug currently cannot be triggered. Apple will undoubtedly release iOS and macOS updates with a fix for this bug, but not sure when.

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