Well, that didn’t take long. The first of what are likely to be many lawsuits have been filed over the software bug that allowed eavesdropping on iOS users via Group FaceTime calls. The suit was filed in less than 24 after news of the bug was published by the media.
The suit was lodged in a Houston, Texas, court by a lawyer claiming the FaceTime glitch enabled an unknown party to listen in on a private call he was conducting with a client, reports Bloomberg.
According to court documents, Larry Williams II said the intrusion occurred as he was taking sworn testimony during a client deposition. Further details were not offered by the report, though it is presumed Williams received a call as he conducted the deposition via FaceTime.
Williams is claiming negligence, product liability, misrepresentation and warranty breach on Apple’s part. He is seeking unspecified punitive damages.
Monday saw the first reports of the FaceTime flaw appear on Twitter. The FaceTime bug, present in current versions of iOS – including the latest version, iOS 12.1 – the bug allows FaceTime users to eavesdrop on a Group FaceTime invitee, even if the person doesn’t answer the call. Camera access is also possible, and is granted if the invitee interacts with the hardware buttons, such as pressing the power button to decline the call and silence the ringtone.
The flaw is easily exploited, as an eavesdropper merely needs to call another FaceTime user, and manually add their own phone number as a third participant. The Group FaceTime call then begins, with audio and perhaps video from the person you originally called, even if they don’t accept the call.
Later, we learned that the mother of the 14-year-old iOS user that discovered the security flaw notified Apple about the issue over a week ago. Michele G Thompson, a lawyer, posted to Twitter a series of emails and bug reports sent to Apple detailing her son’s discovery.
My teen found a major security flaw in Apple’s new iOS. He can listen in to your iPhone/iPad without your approval. I have video. Submitted bug report to @AppleSupport…waiting to hear back to provide details. Scary stuff! #apple #bugreport @foxnews
— MGT7 (@MGT7500) January 21, 2019
— MGT7 (@MGT7500) January 29, 2019