Major iPhone FaceTime bug

2019-01-29 apple facetime eavesdropping bug

In the midst of the winter storm that shut down basically everything in our state yesterday, I was busy working on a family DVD project. The FaceTime app on my phone rang, indicating that someone with a random-sounding iCloud e-mail address was calling. I glanced at my phone and saw my own face on it, as if I had already answered the call. I turned the phone over and ignored it. A minute later the person called again. How annoying, I thought, but I was not going to pick up and give the person the ability to see my face and the inside of my house. So I sent a text: “Please identify yourself.” The answer came back as one word, a very common first name. When I asked for a last name, the person never answered. I went back to my project, still a little uneasy about the calls, and later turned off the FaceTime app.

This morning I got up and was reading the news when I saw CNN’s article about the FaceTime bug. Anyone can call you on the app, and receive audio before you even accept the call. The caller can also add another caller before you answer, making it an unaccepted group call. If the person being called presses the power button or one of the volume buttons, video is added to the audio, and sent back to the caller. And all this without the person being called knowing that someone is watching and listening to them in what is supposed to be the privacy of their own home!

So while I love my phone, the FaceTime will remain off unless I am ready to make a call to a friend or relative.

Link to CNN article:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/29/tech/facetime-bug-how-to-deactivate-scli-intl/index.html

Link to 9-to-5 article:
https://9to5mac.com/2019/01/28/facetime-bug-hear-audio/