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Apple Is Compensating The Kid Who Figured Out Its Sketchy Eavesdropping FaceTime Bug



Grant Thompson and his mother, Michele, look at an iPhone in the family's kitchen in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday, Jan. 31
, 2019.
Photo: Brian Skoloff (AP)

Apple has finally delivered a fix to its Group FaceTime bug that users can use on others with an accidental workaround. But the real hero of this story is the 14-year-old kid who figured out that he existed, and whose mom was reportedly used every imaginable method to reach the company and flag the security issue.

According to Reuters, the company plans to reward Grant Thompson with undisclosed compensation and an investment in his education. Apple spokesperson said: "A thorough security audit of the FaceTime service," a spokesperson customs Reuters, which it said in its iOS 12.1.4 release turned up and issue with Live Photos as well. Both issues have been addressed with the update.

Apple temporarily disabled Group FaceTime after reports surfaced about the bug. Thompson said he figured out that he could actually force a friend's phone to pick up at dialing one person in FaceTime, and then swiping up and attempting to dial another person before the first one picked up. That instantly connected with the first friend's phone, even though they hadn't actually answered the call.

It also took over a week for his mom to get hold of the company, which raised concerns about how non-researcher types are supposed to reach Apple if they stumble upon an egregious security issue like this one. According to Reuters, Apple's plans to overhaul its systems make it easier for normal folks to report problems.

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Apple, which now faces lawsuits and questioning by lawmakers about the FaceTime incident. In addition, a TechCrunch investigation this week revealed that some iOS apps were recording the in-app activity or their users through an analytics tool, a practice Apple strictly forbids but was happening anyway. This all, of course, arrives weeks after Apple ran a billboard in Vegas claiming that whatever "happens to your iPhone, stays on your iPhone." Which, yikes.

In any event, update your devices.

[Reuters]


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