Apple FaceTime Bug: How to Turn It Off to Avoid Eavesdropping

Apple Bug Lets Users Hear Others Via Facetime Before They Pick Up Call
iPhone FaceTime bug lets you listen in on someone before they answer

30 January, 2019

Apple has now disabled the group FaceTime feature in response to the find.

The bug lets users who call anyone with FaceTime to immediately hear the audio coming from their phone - before the person on the other end has accepted or rejected the incoming call.

The caller can then eavesdrop on the person being called, and in some demonstrations even watch them through the camera app.

If you're an iPhone user, you might want to find out how to disable FaceTime on your phone to avoid eavesdropping from unknown callers. "Until Apple fixes the bug, it's not clear how to defend yourself against this attack either aside from disabling FaceTime altogether".

Reports of a nasty FaceTime bug, that activates the devices' microphones while the call is still ringing, surfaced on social media on Monday. It appears that the bug affects any device running iOS 12.1 or later, and can be exploited by starting a video call, then adding your own number as a third participant before the call is picked up. CNBC reports that a bug allows you to listen from someone else's phone even before they answer your call.

FaceTime software enables voice or video calls using iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, and Macintosh computers.

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Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of NY, issued a statement saying that the "FaceTime bug is an egregious breach of privacy that puts New Yorkers at risk".

The Verge was able to reach an Apple spokesperson and Apple is aware of the issue with plans to release a software update later this week.

The FaceTime bug exists on iOS devices that have iOS 12.1 or later.

That said, this FaceTime incident is a serious blow to Apple's carefully constructed image of the champion of privacy. Apple has promised to issue a permanent fix "later this week", according to 9to5Mac.

To turn FaceTime off on a Mac open the FaceTime app, select "FaceTime" at the top of the screen then choose "Turn FaceTime Off".

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