02 February 2019

Meet this child who discovered apple's face time privacy bug at the age of only 14

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02 February 2019
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Photo Credit : FB/Michele G Thompson

A 14-year- old boy who has been stumbling over the eavesdropping flaw more than a week before Apple acted, at the heart of Apples shocking FaceTime bug, which allowed just about anybody to turn an iPhone into a live microphone.

Grant Thompson, freshman of the high school in Tucson, Arizona, said "The thing that surprised me most was the fact that this gap was first." I'm only fourteen and I found it accidentally, rather than people from Apple paying for failure. "

Not only that but also that Grant and his mother said that in their FaceTime group chat feature they tried unsuccessfully to get Apple to do some work about this bug. Even before the person has accepted or rejected the call, a bug allowed callers to activate another person's microphone remotely.

" To get an answer it took us nine days," he said. He jokes at fax, "I'm not even sure what that's." My mom contacted them almost every day via email, telephone, fax. "It may be older than I am."

This frightening fear is over now that Apple has group chats with disabilities, but the problem could make the company look much lengthier. State officials in New York initiated an investigation into consumer rights. Others question how long Apple took to deal with the bug.

Apple thanked the Thompsons in a statement Friday, which stated that they have identified a fix and are going to release it next week. Chatting for the FaceTime group then resumes.

Grant, a student who plays basketball, is voluntary in the community and enjoys the video game "Fortnite." On Saturday evening, January 19th, when the defect discovered, friends were calling to play the game.

" I wonder how many others have discovered it if the 14-year- old kid has found it," said Chris Wysopal, head of technology at Veracode.

Apple didn't say if it had records to respond to this question.

The statement on Friday said Apple engineers worked fast as soon as it got the bug reproduction information. While Apple did not recognize a delay, it stated that it is "pledged to improve the process through which we are receiving and extending these reports, so that they are received by the right people as quickly as possible. " 

It can be further scrutinized–at first widely praised for its swift response–when regulators are looking at this vulnerability in greater detail. 
Letitia James and Gov., the Attorney General of New York. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that they investigate "The failure of Apple to warn consumers of the Face Time bug and the slow reaction to the problem. "

They said that the bug threatened New York consumers ' privacy. James said the review of her office will include an "considerable study of Apple's reply. " 

The 32-person Video Conference feature for iPhones, iPads and Macs was introduced by Apple last October. With the bug, even if the recipient did not accept the call, a group chat user from FaceTime who called another Apple device could hear audio The bug was triggered when a regular FaceTime call was transformed into a chat group and FaceTime thought the recipient agreed. 

Grant's case was that he had just prepared his Xbox and called a friend, Nathan, to play "Fortnite "online with him. 

" You could swipe it up and add another person, so I added Diego, my friend to see if he wanted to play too, "he said. He said. " But it forced Nathan to react as soon as I added Diego. " 

At first they were shocked, then tried to repeat this bug, and every time it happened, he said. His mom, Michele Thompson, said that the next day she began to try to reach Apple. 

" It could have been tested in two minutes, understood and brought the chain on Apple, "Thompson, who is a lawyer, said. " For the average citizen to report such things, there must be a better process. And a time-consuming reply. " 

Finally, she reached somebody who advised her to register for the bug as a software developer. Such reports can often lead to "bug bonuses "in order to provide financial rewards for those who discover a failure. This award, or at least some credit, could be awarded to the family Grant. 

She told me, "He'd ask me every day,' Did we still listen from Apple?' The family tried several channels to reach Apple. They left Twitter comments, one of them addressed CEO Tim Cook, and downloaded a video to get the problem across to Apple engineers. But it wasn't until the tech blog announced that Apple had temporarily disrupted the group chat function— leading many people to test the spying bug themselves. 

When he heard about the problem, Apple refused to tell. The company wouldn't say if it has logs that would show if someone used the bug before this week was made public. According to an email shared with The Associated Press, Michele Thompson, the company contacted the Thumpson family on Thursday to offer public recognition for their efforts. 

" It's cool to just say thanks to Apple, "said Grant Thompson from Apple before the Friday announcement. " The bug bounty would be pretty awesome to get out, of course, but it would be pretty cool, as long as we got rid of this pretty groundbreaking bug, and Apple said thank You. "


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