Apple has released an iOS 12.1.4 update as the Facetime bug fix which was discovered by 14-year-old Grant Thompson last. Apple took Group Facetime off temporarily after the bug was made known in order to combat privacy but has now restored it on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with the latest iOS update.
According to 9to5Mac Apple has made an on-the-record statement about the fixes and updated servers, it reads:
“Today’s software update fixes the security bug in Group FaceTime. We again apologize to our customers and we thank them for their patience. In addition to addressing the bug that was reported, our team conducted a thorough security audit of the FaceTime service and made additional updates to both the FaceTime app and server to improve security. This includes a previously unidentified vulnerability in the Live Photos feature of FaceTime. To protect customers who have not yet upgraded to the latest software, we have updated our servers to block the Live Photos feature of FaceTime for older versions of iOS and macOS.”
Michelle Thompson, the mother of the teenager who discovered the bug while calling a friend to play Fortnite tried to report the case to Apple but the company did not respond in time. When Grant made the call and his friend, Nathan, he did not pick, he added another Friend, Diego, to create a Group Facetime call. Grant discovered he was able to eavesdrops on the first friend he was calling even when he hasn’t picked the call. Apple says Grant is eligible for its bug bounty program and will be compensating the kid, CNBC reports.
Speaking to CNBC about the reward, Michelle Thompson said,
“If he got some kind of bug bounty for what he found, we’d certainly put it to good use for his college because I think he’s going to go far, hopefully. This is actually a field he was interested in before and even more so now.”
According to TheVerge, Apple has a mixed history with bug bounty rewards which started three years ago. Apple pays as much as $200,000 to researches who help discover bug and reports it but it is much more valuable to sell the discovered vulnerabilities than reporting to Apple. As at now, Apple only offers compensations for iOS bugs. Grant’s family will be compensated and Apple will also be paying towards the teenager’s education. The exact amount has not been stated.
After the Facetime bug fix, Grant told CNBC about his new-found popularity and was asked what his friends think, he said, “Quite a few of my friends know of it and think it’s pretty cool”. He said he remains an Apple fan and will continue to use his iPhone despite what happened.