Wednesday 17 July 2019

Apple suspends group video calling feature over bug that lets people spy on iPhone users

 

Past problems: It is the second time an issue has arisen with the FaceTime video call feature on iPhones. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Past problems: It is the second time an issue has arisen with the FaceTime video call feature on iPhones. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Olivia Rudgard in San Francisco

Apple has suspended its group video calling feature after users found a major bug that allowed people to eavesdrop and spy on unsuspecting iPhone owners.

The bug meant iPhone users could have had their audio and video transmitted to others without their knowledge.

The company said it would fix the problem later this week but has deactivated the app's group calling function in the meantime.

The bug involves a customer using Apple's video call feature, FaceTime, to request a call with another iPhone or Apple Mac user.

If they added themselves as a third participant in the conversation, they are then able to hear audio from the other end of the line, even before the other person has accepted or rejected the call.

If the other person goes to reject the call by pressing the phone's power button, the caller is then also able to see through the recipient's front camera.

A spokesman for Apple said: "We're aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week."

The bug is part of group video calling, which Apple added to its iPhones in October as part of its iOS 12.1 software.

It is the second issue that has since arisen with FaceTime.

Previously, security researchers found that a caller could view a target phone's full contact list by using the group call feature.

Irish Independent

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