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Privacy

Apple fixes bug that allowed FaceTime users to listen to a person before they answer call

In some cases, users could also watch a person before they answered the FaceTime call.

APPLE HAS FIXED a software bug that could allow iPhone users to listen to audio from the phone of the person they are calling before the person has accepted or rejected the call.

The bug was first reported by tech website 9to5Mac.

It was triggered when, while making a FaceTime call, a user swipes up from the bottom of the screen and taps Add Person and adds their own phone number.

This allowed them to start a group FaceTime call including themselves and the audio of the person they originally called, even if the second person hasn’t answered the call.

According to US media, a 14-year-old Arizona boy discovered the flaw and his mother struggled for a week to get Apple’s attention.

“My fear is that this flaw could be used for nefarious purposes,” Michele Thompson wrote to Apple, according to reports.

Apple acknowledged the help in its statement, saying: “We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug.”

Tests carried out by the Guardian show that, in some circumstances, the bug also allows users to see video of the person they are calling before they pick up.

If the recipient of the call pressed the power button on the side of the iPhone, an action typically used to silence or ignore an incoming call, their phone would begin broadcasting video to the person calling them -  raising obvious concerns about privacy issues.

The tech giant has taken Group FaceTime offline in an attempt to address the issue in the meantime.

Apple has now said that it has fixed the group FaceTime security bug on its servers. 

“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,” Apple said in a statement.

“We sincerely apologise to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue.”

With reporting by AFP and Órla Ryan

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