Apple to Compensate Teenager Who Discovered Major Group Facetime Security Bug

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The software bug, which had let users hear audio from people who had not yet answered a video call, was discovered by a Tucson, Arizona high school student Grant Thompson, who with his mother Michele led Apple to turn off FaceTime group chat as its engineers investigated the issue.

Now, Apple says it plans to compensate the Thompson family as well as make a gift towards Grant's future education fund as a "thank you" for discovering the FaceTime flaw. The teenager uncovered the problem when using FaceTime to talk about strategies for the Fortnite game with friends. Following public backlash, though, it disabled group FaceTime calls on the server side on January 28.

The US technology firm has just released a major security update for its mobile devices which fixes a serious flaw with the popular FaceTime app. The iPhone maker had also notified users about the unavailability of the feature through the system status page on its website.

Apple reacted by disabling the Group FaceTime option within the app later in the day. We were able to independently verify the restoration of the Group FaceTime feature on devices running iOS 12.1.4.

This happened for as long as the call was ringing, and ended when the call was rejected or timed out. But the real hero of this story is the 14-year-old kid who figured out that it existed, and whose mum reportedly used every imaginable method to reach the company and flag the security issue. Apple's release notes also acknowledge an included security fix involving Live Photos and FaceTime that solves a bug the company found when performing "a thorough security audit" of FaceTime. The two vulnerabilities, known as CVE-2019-7286 and CVE-2019-7287, were related to a "memory corruption issue".

To patch your iPhone or iPad, open Settings, tap General, tap Software Update and tap Download and Install. You will need Wi-Fi access and your battery to be charged above 50 percent, or the device will need to be connected to a charger.

Launch System Preferences and open Software Update.