If you recently called someone using Apple's new Group FaceTime feature, you may have noticed a concerning privacy issue—and if you were the recipient of a Group FaceTime call, you may have fallen victim to the bug without realizing it. As CNN Business reports, the bug allows Apple users to eavesdrop on people they're calling via FaceTime, and in some cases, spy on them by video even if they don't accept the call.
The security flaw appeared shortly after Apple rolled out Group FaceTime in December, and it's since been linked to iPhones and iPads on iOS 12.1 and Apple PCs on macOS Mojave with the feature.
If the bug is activated on your device, FaceTime will automatically transmit audio from the other person's phone when you call them, rather than starting from the moment they answer the call, as the app normally does. If the recipient declines the call by pressing a volume button or the power button, there's a chance FaceTime will send live video of them instead of hanging up. And the recipient has no indication that this is happening.
The bug can be triggered easily by adding your own phone number to a Group FaceTime call between you and another person. With that information, anyone can take advantage of the vulnerability to snoop on other iOS users. According to Apple's status page, Group FaceTime is "temporarily unavailable" while the company gets the privacy issue is sorted out, but if you've already downloaded Group FaceTime, the bug may carry over to two-person FaceTime Calls.
If you want to be sure no one is using your iPhone to eavesdrop on you, the safest move is to disable FaceTime until Apple announces a foolproof fix. To do that, open Settings on your iPhone or iPad, select FaceTime, and toggle off the green switch next to the app name. For Mac computers, open the FaceTime app, drop-down FaceTime from the menu bar, and click Turn FaceTime Off to disable the feature.
[h/t CNN Business]