Apple apologises for FaceTime privacy bug. Group FaceTime to be enabled next week

Last week, it was discovered that there’s a privacy bug which affects pretty much all products that support Group FaceTime. A caller can potentially hear or even see your surroundings without you having to accept the call if they initiate a Group FaceTime.

To prevent further abuse, Apple had quickly disabled the feature within hours after it was covered by most media outlets. The Cupertino company has recently issued a statement apologising to affected customers and they are aiming to bring back Group FaceTime sometime next week.

Below is Apple’s statement to MacRumors on the issue:

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. 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. 

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. 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.

From the looks of it, the issue has been fixed on Apple’s servers and they will enable Group FaceTime for all users via a software update. The statement also highlighted that Apple had quickly disabled the affected feature and had begun to work on the fix as soon as their engineering team became aware of the full details. Apple also emphasises that they take security seriously and they will improve their process of receiving bug reports so that they can escalate them to the right people as fast as possible.

According to CNBC’s report, Apple had credited a 14-year old boy who had reported the bug to Apple. He discovered the issue while performing a group FaceTime with his friends. Interestingly, the mother, Michele Thompson, had told CNBC that she never received a response from the company when she tried to report the bug to Apple.

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Alexander Wong