The words face and bug should never be in the same sentence; unfortunately for Apple, a newly discovered bug in their FaceTime software enables users to listen in on people who they are calling without the individual even answering. The software issue, revealed and demonstrated through several videos online, was first confirmed by Bloomberg News, and now has the internet in an uproar. Per Apple, they are working fixing the issue by releasing a software update later in the week.
The FaceTime bug could not have come at a worse time, as it was international Data Privacy Day yesterday; this is a great way to celebrate it, right? On the same day as this breach was spotted, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook tweeted, “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.” To find a better case of irony, look no further.
While the FaceTime bug certainly can be dangerous to all, individuals who deal with sensitive information such as those in politics or the military, are significantly concerned with the chance of undeterrable security breaches.
To ensure that your FaceTime app (for iOS devices) cannot be used against you, simply disable it by navigating to Settings, selecting FaceTime, and then toggling it off until the patch is released. For Macs, merely open the FaceTime app, scroll to FaceTime in the upper-left corner, and then turn off FaceTime; only those who have iOS 12.1 or later have the risk of this issue being present.
Gurman, Mark. (28 Jan 2019). Bloomberg. “Apple Bug Lets iPhone Users Listen in on Others Via FaceTime.” Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-29.