The group calling in FaceTime has been disabled by Apple to fix a major security flaw. Apple has confirmed disabling of the Group FaceTime feature on the server side, and reports suggest this has fixed the security flaw for most people.
FaceTime is Apple’s own video-telephony app that allows iPhone and Mac users to make audio and video calls with each other. Something along the lines of Skype, Hangouts and Duo. It is pretty popular in the US, Apple’s home country, although it has a lot of users around the world too.
Multiple tech outlets reported on Monday that iPhone users had been able to listen in on the person they were calling via FaceTime without the recipient accepting the call. The vulnerability was unearthed on Monday and it is activated when a user initiates a group call but adds themselves as a participant.
An issue has been updated on Apple’s system status page. On Monday night, Apple said that Group FaceTime is temporarily unavailable, suggesting the feature was taken offline after the reports.
“We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.
Apple is also planning to fix this on the client side with a software update later this week, but in the meantime, it’s probably worth disabling FaceTime in the iOS settings. On the Mac, you can disable FaceTime by opening the app, then Preferences, then unchecking “Enable this account.”
Apple is naturally moving quickly to address this and protect iPhone, iPad, and Mac users worldwide. New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued a consumer alert late on Tuesday to warn residents of New York about the FaceTime security bug. “The FaceTime bug is an egregious breach of privacy that puts New Yorkers at risk,” says Governor Cuomo. “In light of this bug, I advise New Yorkers to disable their FaceTime app until a fix is made available, and I urge Apple to release the fix without delay.”
Wow, NY Governor Cuomo issues statement on FaceTime issue pic.twitter.com/ECWBp7AbXS
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) January 29, 2019