Apple has disabled FaceTime group calls following a social media storm after users revealed a serious bug which lets callers hear the recipient before they pick up. Without the recipient answering the phone, audio from the other user's phone is then streamed to the caller. At which point, regardless of whether the user you called accepted the call or not, you'd be able to listen to any audio picked up by their microphone. Good thing the company responded in a timely manner to disable the feature, though. Until Apple fixes the bug, it's not clear how to defend yourself against this attack either aside from disabling FaceTime altogether. The issue affects any pair of iPhones running iOS 12.1 or later, but also calls made to Macs using Mojave.
The bug, which was ironically uncovered on Data Privacy Day, has drawn a lot of attention.
Watch out for incoming FaceTime calls. When you call someone and then use the menu option to add another party to the call before the first recipient answers, you can receive audio and video from that first person's device - without them realizing it.
An iPhone owner can attempt to replicate the security bug by starting a FaceTime call with a contact, then - while the phone is ringing - swiping up on the screen and selecting "Add Person".
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In a statement, Apple told journalists: "We're aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week".
Many of us buy iOS devices because they promise the best security.
This is why you should consider disabling it until Apple gets around to rolling out the software update with the recommended fix.
On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings FaceTime, and toggle off the green button at the top of the screen.