Apparently, nearly a week before it became public knowledge, the FaceTime bug was reported to Apple by a young Fortnite player from Arizona. Apple support seemingly just didn’t take the issue very seriously until the problem became more well-known.
According to the Wall Street Journal, 14-year-old Grant Thompson was trying to set up a FaceTime group conversation with some of his friends for a few rounds of Fortnite when he noticed the bug. Thompson told his mom and the two tried to contact Apple support about the issue, first through Twitter and Facebook and then via phone call and fax. Upon discovering that they needed a developer account to report the bug, the two managed to contact Apple’s security team via email. However, Apple did not reward Thompson for his discovery—as the company usually does for those who report major issues with its software—and seemingly did not seriously address the FaceTime bug until it became public knowledge.
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
For those unaware, the bug in question allowed someone to call another user through FaceTime and secretly hear the receiver’s audio without the recipient knowing. The bug impacted all iOS devices, including iPhones. Apple has reported that a fix is coming within the next week, but, for now, group FaceTime calls—identified as the vulnerability that allows someone to take advantage of the bug—have been disabled. According to a few reports, however, you can still take advantage of the exploit. The only sure way to protect yourself is to disable FaceTime on all of your iOS devices.
Thankfully, disabling FaceTime is a fairly easy endeavor. Just make sure you do so on all of your iOS and Mac products. All you need to do is go into your FaceTime settings and turn the application off. If you’re having trouble, GameSpot’s sister site CNET has put together a step-by-step guide for how to turn FaceTime off on iOS and Mac devices.