Apple is disabling the Walkie Talkie feature on the Apple Watch due to an eavesdropping hack, according to a report from Forbes. The hack exposed yet another vulnerability to the FaceTime interface, as it piggy backs on it to allow users to have push to talk conversations on two devices using the audio for FaceTime.
Apple Watch Eavesdropping Hack
Exposure of the vulnerability in the Walkie Talkie app is just one of several security issues the tech giant has faced this year. The team at Apple just rolled out an update for the Mac line of computers that involved strengthening security for their webcams, after a possible vulnerability showed up. Now, the Apple Watch eavesdropping issue could be even more painful to deal with.
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According to Apple, the Apple Watch eavesdropping hack has not actually been used yet to their knowledge. They have not released details as to exactly how the hack works, but simply said it would require a set of “specific conditions and sequences of events” in order to be exploited. Apple told TechCrunch “We were just made aware of a vulnerability related to the Walkie Talkie app on the Apple Watch and have disabled the function as we quickly fix the (eavesdropping) issue. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore the functionality as soon as possible. Although we are not aware of any use of the vulnerability against a customer and specific conditions and sequences of events are required to exploit it, we take the security and privacy of our customers extremely seriously. We concluded that disabling the app was the right course of action as this bug could allow someone to listen through another customer’s iPhone without consent. We apologize again for this issue and the inconvenience.”
Apple And Zoom
The issue surrounding the Mac webcam vulnerability stemmed from users installing Zoom, a popular videoconferencing software. The software reportedly installed a hidden web server, which left the cameras open to being hijacked at will. Rather than wait for Zoom to fix their mistake, Apple stepped in with an update that cleaned out the unwanted web server, making their users safe once again. The Apple Watch eavesdropping vulnerability is being taken just as seriously by the Cupertino company, and disabling the Walkie Talkie app is just the first step in the process of solving the problem. Apple is obviously trying to stay ahead of the curve by sorting out security risks before they are actually exploited. This is definitely a move in the right direction, as it helps protect consumers from information loss.