Apple could have probably saved themselves a headache had they been more attentive to the mother of the 14-year-old teenager who was trying to make them aware of a major FaceTime flaw.
News of a bug that allows persons to listen in on group calls in the app, without the knowledge of the individuals actually involved in the chat, broke on Monday. But Grant Thompson and his mother Michelle spent over a week trying to report the vulnerability to apple, without much success.
Per the Wall Street Journal, the Arizona teenager discovered the issue on January 20 while setting up a FaceTime group chat with his friends for a game of Fortnite.
After letting his mom in on the discovery, the pair made attempts to alert Apple and Fox News via Twitter and Facebook. They also called and faxed the company, yet their efforts were still in vain.
They did manage to get through after learning that they would need a developer account, finally making contact through email. However, they did not feel like Apple took their revelation seriously until news of the bug began making the rounds on social media.
Michelle reported that someone could listen in on a FaceTime conversation unbeknownst to the participants as long as they are in the vicinity of such a call. The Arizona resident tested it out a few times to verify what young Grant told her but was careful not to release the details on the web.
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
In the meantime, Apple has disabled their group FaceTime feature in order to circumvent the issue.
The company usually offers bounties to developers who find and report flaws in their software but it isn't clear if the Thompsons will be handed a financial reward for their many efforts to reach out.
Michelle had indicated that her son wanted an iPhone X, a MacBook and a new pair of AirPods for his discovery in a Facebook post. If nothing else, they should at least let the kid have those.