Apple Was Apparently Notified About Major FaceTime Eavesdropping Bug Over a Week Ago [Updated]

While it only made the news yesterday, it appears Apple was alerted to a major FaceTime privacy bug over a week ago.

Twitter user MGT7500 tagged the official Apple Support account in a January 20 tweet claiming that her 14-year-old son discovered a "major security flaw" that allowed him to "listen in to your iPhone/iPad without your approval." The user also tagged Tim Cook on the issue in a follow-up tweet on January 21.

Once the bug started making headlines on Monday, the Twitter user then shared additional tweets claiming that they had also emailed Apple's product security team over a week ago. A screenshot of the email was shared, and it appears the team did respond, but what they said is not visible in the screenshot.

The user acknowledges having wanted to receive a monetary reward under Apple's bug bounty program, but she claims she still proceeded to alert Apple to the bug by phone, fax, and with an official bug report nonetheless. She also wanted to keep the bug private, but she did tweet Fox News about it.

All in all, there is evidence that Apple Support was tagged about an eavesdropping bug eight days before it made headlines, and if the rest of the tweets are truthful, the company was also alerted about the bug via several other avenues.

Apple has temporarily disabled Group FaceTime, as adding your own phone number to a FaceTime call was the underlying cause of the bug, while it rushes to prepare a software update with a permanent fix. Apple said that update will arrive "later this week," but it wouldn't be surprising to see it today.

Apple did not immediately respond to our request for comment about when it discovered the bug and how long it existed.

Update: John Meyer reached out to the Twitter user and has shared a video about the FaceTime bug that he says was recorded and sent to Apple on January 23. Meyer has apparently confirmed the veracity of this info by phone.

Top Rated Comments

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13 months ago
"She also wanted to keep the bug private, but she did tweet Fox News about it." riiiigghhhtt
Rating: 65 Votes
13 months ago
Wow. Apple should have been more transparent about this issue and it should have immediately disabled Group FaceTime. Immediately. For a company that touts privacy and security as its main focus, this is inexcusable.
Rating: 63 Votes
13 months ago
There's no iOS patch for lost trust.
Rating: 49 Votes
13 months ago
Asking for money + going to FOX "news" = zero credibility
Rating: 33 Votes
13 months ago
If true, this is not good given the the true severity of this bug.
Rating: 22 Votes
13 months ago
"We must keep fighting for the kind of world we want to live in. On this #DataPrivacyDay ('') let us all insist on action and reform for vital privacy protections. The dangers are real and the consequences are too important."

Tim Cook - January 28th 2019.
Rating: 22 Votes
13 months ago

This is the turning point for me regarding privacy. Apple has lost my trust.

What does that mean? You’re going android?
Rating: 22 Votes
13 months ago

I wonder if there is a patch for lost trust.

I think the trust patch was lost after all the issues in the MacBook Pro.

It's obvious to most that Apple is a large corporation that is concerned primarily with stock prices.
Rating: 21 Votes
13 months ago

She also wanted to keep the bug private, but she did tweet Fox News about it.


Truthfully though....this is a major blunder on Apple's part. I'm sure they get an inordinate amount of bug reports, both major and minor, every day. But when someone puts this on your radar on multiple fronts and it goes completely unanswered it's a sign that the review process if fundamentally flawed.

If this lady reported it on the 21st the Group FaceTime service should have been offline no later than the 22nd and there should have been a press release detailing the issue and the corrective action. Instead it sat there for a week until it blew up in their face.

No way to spin this other than a massive failure by Apple. Hopefully they learn from it and are better for it going forward.
Rating: 19 Votes
13 months ago
Meanwhile more emojis !
Rating: 19 Votes

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