Apple will compensate Grant Thompson, a Tuscon, Arizona high school student who discovered the Facetime bug. After Thompson and his mother reported the bug to Apple, the company had to turn-off the group chat while the engineers investigated the issue and fixed the bug. On Thursday, Apple released a software update to fix the issue in its video calling service and also announced that it would contribute money to fund the teenager’s education after he found the problem.
How Thompson discovered the bug?
The issue was discovered purely by chance by Grant Thompson. He was contacting friends using Group Facetime which is Apple’s video chat app, and suddenly the recipients’ camera and microphone became active, and they could even listen in even before the call got picked. Later 14-year old Thompson and his mother contacted Apple on this issue many times, but the company did not respond to those messages initially. It is yet to be known whether it is because none of them saw it. However, Apple representatives in a statement released recently said that they disabled Group Facetime immediately after they got to know of the details and then began to work on fixing it.
The payout that the teenager will receive is part of the incentive program that Apple offers to security researchers for submitting bugs and vulnerabilities privately. The company is offering an unknown amount to Thompson’s education.
Apple release the fix:
Apple releases the iOS 12.4.1 to fix the group Facetime issue and also a few more security updates that are recommended for all the users. The security advisory has also credited the teenager for finding the bug. A spokesperson to Apple said that ‘In addition to addressing the bug that was reported, our team conducted a thorough security audit of FaceTime service and made additional updates to the FaceTime app and server to improve security.’ Also, the earlier vulnerability in the Live Photos of FaceTime is fixed and to protect users who have not upgraded to the latest software; the servers were updated so that the feature of Live Photos is blocked for earlier versions of iOS and macOS.
Though Apple has fixed the issue, the rumble is yet to die down as two US House of Representatives have got involved and are seeking answers from CEO Tim Cook. The members have sent a letter to the Apple CEO demanding his response on the issue related to this episode.