iPhone FaceTime Bug Let Users Secretly Eavesdrop


William Hsieh

Anyone can FaceTime your device and listen in to your conversations.

William Hsieh, Director of Photography

A 14-year-old discovered a FaceTime bug last month that let users spy on other users. The bug is a data security issue that affects all iOS devices on iOS 12.1 or later and even some Macs. Although Group FaceTime is temporarily disabled to prevent this from happening, an official fix has came out with iOS 12.1.4.

When the bug was still active, any user could eavesdrop on other users by starting a Group FaceTime call and adding themself to the call. The user could listen to the receiver’s audio while appearing like a normal call on the receiver’s end.

“We have also found is that if the person presses the Power button from the Lock screen, their video is also sent to the caller,” 9to5Mac author Benjamin Mayo said in a 9to5Mac article..

From the receiver’s end, it appears like a normal FaceTime call, with buttons for accept and decline.

“People just need to be a little more aware of the information they are sharing with people and [about] these security, privacy and storage issues that exist in the world today… The best way to protect yourself is to be aware,” math and computer science teacher Eric Graham said.

Smartphones are cameras and microphones that follow people everywhere they go. With modern technology, privacy is limited, especially when almost everyone has a phone in their pocket. Although the issue is temporarily fixed, this discovery could mean there are other security bugs that people still do not know about.

“The things that we’re learning about data privacy and security in AP Computer Science help us be better prepared to face this kind of problem in the future,” computer science student Nikhil Jha said.

Learning about computer science and gaining knowledge about technology can help people be more aware of these data security issues.