Apple apologizes for FaceTime eavesdropping flaw; fix coming next week

By

2018 iPad Pro Animoji
Apple's FaceTime bug allowed users to eavesdrop on others.
Photo: Apple

Apple has apologized for its FaceTime bug, and assured customers that an iOS software update is coming next week to fix it.

The FaceTime flaw allowed users to see and hear individuals before they answered a Group FaceTime call. Apple took the Group FaceTime servers offline after the news broke, but from the sound of things, it regrets how long it took to deal with the situation.

A statement issued by Apple to 9to5Mac, which first reported the bug, reads as follows:

“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.”

The Thompson family Apple references were the people who first reported the bug to Apple. Apple wound up acting on the information, but apparently not soon enough. As it said in its statement, it now wants to make it easier for customers to report bugs.

Since the FaceTime bug news broke this week, Apple has had a bit of blowback. In particular, New York Attorney General Letitia James has said that her office is launching an investigation into Apple’s failure to warn customers. A lawyer is also suing Apple, claiming that the FaceTime vulnerability was used by an unknown individual to eavesdrop on a private conversation between themselves and a client.