This week’s iPhone eavesdropping scare is over after Apple shut down a bug in its FaceTime group-chatting feature, but a 14-year-old high school student in Tucson, Arizona, is hoping for a thank you. (Feb. 1)
Group FaceTime will be returning to iPhones, iPads and Macs next week.
After a bug in the software that allowed people to eavesdrop using the video calling app went viral on Monday, Apple announced on Friday that it has fixed the issue and will re-enable it for users next week.
“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,” the company said in a statement Friday. “We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug. We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this process.”
Michele Thompson, an Arizona attorney, tried to warn the company last week about the exploit after her son Grant discovered it while playing “Fortnite” with his friends. Thompson tried several ways to bring the issue to the company’s attention, including faxing a letter, tweeting at the company and submitting an official bug report often used by developers but to no avail.
His mom tried to warn Apple: A 14-year-old discovered the Group FaceTime bug
As news of the exploit went viral, Apple disabled the feature from its servers Monday night. It originally said that the software update would be released this week.
In addition to fixing the bug, Apple also played a bit of damage control, both on how it handled this issue and how it says it will improve the process in the future.
“We want to assure our customers that as soon as our engineering team became aware of the details necessary to reproduce the bug, they quickly disabled Group FaceTime and began work on the fix,” the company’s statement continued. “We are committed to improving the process by which we receive and escalate these reports, in order to get them to the right people as fast as possible. We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”
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Apple currently is facing a lawsuit from Houston attorney over the bug, claiming that the FaceTime exploit let an unknown person eavesdrop on a private discussion with a client while New York governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that they have launched an investigation into the bug.
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