Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Apple to reward the teenager who discovered FaceTime bug

The tech giant will give an undisclosed sum to the high school student who discovered a security issue in the video-calling app

Grant Thompson and his mother, Michele, reported the FaceTime bug to Apple last month. AP
Grant Thompson and his mother, Michele, reported the FaceTime bug to Apple last month. AP

The American teenager who found a security flaw in Apple's FaceTime video-calling service will be compensated for his efforts.

High school student Grant Thompson, 14, will be rewarded for discovering the bug, which allowed callers to briefly listen in on other users, Apple announced on Friday.

The news coincides with the technology giant rolling out an iPhone update to fix the software issue, which affected group calling on FaceTime.

The bug allowed users to eavesdrop on conversations by activating another person's microphone remotely before the user accepted an incoming call.

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, speaks about group FaceTime when it was first announced in 2018. AP
Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, speaks about group FaceTime when it was first announced in 2018. AP

Thompson, from Arizona, discovered the flaw late last month, with Apple subsequently turning off the group-chat feature on FaceTime until the issue was fixed.

The FaceTime fix is included in the latest version of Apple's iOS 12 system, which launched on Thursday.

"We sincerely apologise to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue," the company said last week.

"We are committed to improving the process by which we receive and escalate these reports, in order to get them to the right people as fast as possible. We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us."

The teenager and his mother tried to contact the company for more than a week before Apple acknowledged the issue.

The company has since apologised for the delay, and revealed plans to issue Thompson with a reward for his sleuthing.

The undisclosed amount will go towards paying the teenager's college tuition fees and expenses, his mother told AP.

Updated: February 9, 2019 12:05 PM

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