Apple slapped with lawsuit over Group FaceTime bug

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 30
Apple is facing a lawsuit related to a software flaw that allowed interlopers to eavesdrop on Group FaceTime calls, with the suit arriving less than 24 hours after news of the bug was circulated by mainstream media.

FaceTime


The suit was lodged in a Houston, Texas, court by a lawyer claiming the FaceTime glitch enabled an unknown party to listen in on a private call he was conducting with a client, reports Bloomberg.

According to court documents, Larry Williams II said the intrusion occurred as he was taking sworn testimony during a client deposition. Further details were not offered by the report, though it is presumed Williams received a call as he conducted the deposition via FaceTime.

On Monday, reports of a massive FaceTime flaw surfaced on Twitter. Present in current versions of iOS, including the latest iOS 12.1, the bug enables a FaceTime caller to eavesdrop on a recipient device's audio even if that person does not answer. Camera access is also granted if the recipient interacts with hardware buttons on their iPhone, for example pressing the power button to decline the call.

Perhaps most troubling was the relative ease at which the bug is exploited. A nefarious party simply calls another FaceTime user and manually adds the originating number to the call as a third party. Once added, audio from the recipient's device begins streaming without an indication that a call is live.

It was later learned that Apple was notified of the FaceTime issue more than a week ago by the mother of a 14-year-old who independently discovered the massive flaw. Michele G Thompson, a lawyer, posted to Twitter a series of emails and bug reports sent to Apple detailing her son's discovery. One letter was dated Jan. 22, while a tweet containing a bug report related to the find dates back to Jan. 21.

Apple addressed the issue by disabling Group FaceTime in a server-side cutoff late last night. The company is currently working on a fix it expects to release to users later this week.

Williams claims negligence, product liability, misrepresentation and warranty breach in his suit against Apple. He is seeking unspecified punitive damages, according to the report.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    Just another scum bag lawyer looking to make a quick buck. We all know his claim is bull$h1t. 
    Scot1olsmwhitecoolfactorrandominternetpersondamn_its_hotwilliamlondonMacQcbrucemcjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 26
    Pointless lawsuit, just digging for money. Lame. All software..**ALL** software is buggy. Of course, how would a technologically inept person know that? By nature, software inherently is buggy. Nothing would ever release otherwise. Hahahahaha bottom feeders
    coolfactorbrucemcjbdragonHeliBumwatto_cobraaaronkalb
  • Reply 3 of 26
    I wouldn't mind if AppleInsider didn't report stories like this. It just gives the wrong people publicity.
    SoliSpamSandwichcoolfactortbornotmacxpresswilliamlondonNostrilskrawalllkrupplongpath
  • Reply 4 of 26
    gilly33gilly33 Posts: 293member
    What an effing douché. I’m sure he expects to win seeing it’s filed in Houston. 
    coolfactorwatto_cobraaaronkalb
  • Reply 5 of 26
    Just another scum bag lawyer looking to make a quick buck. We all know his claim is bull$h1t. 
    Depositions on a phone?? What a lazy lawyer🤣
    coolfactorMisterKitwatto_cobraaaronkalb
  • Reply 6 of 26
    Not sure how he could know that the originating caller exploited the bug in question. I would imagine Apple has server logs for all Facetime activity - should be simple for Apple to get the case tossed.
    edited January 30 coolfactorrandominternetpersonleavingthebiggracerhomie3brucemcjbdragonbadmonkwatto_cobraaaronkalb
  • Reply 7 of 26
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,752member
    The lawyer should be disbarred for filing such a bogus lawsuit.
    coolfactorwatto_cobraaaronkalb
  • Reply 8 of 26
    Not sure how he could know that the originating caller exploited the bug in question. I would imagine Apple has server logs for all Facetime activity - should be simple for Apple to get the case tossed.
    And make sure his face and name are known to every single Apple employee in the world. Allow no Apple products to be sold to this cretin.
    coolfactorwatto_cobraaaronkalb
  • Reply 9 of 26
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,582member
    Convenient timing.

    Apple does need to be questioned for why they responded in the way that they did, and I'd like to know who fed this information to the media, unless the media figured it out on their own after seeing the original tweets by the mother? It sounds like she handled it as well as expected, and that Apple did not take her reports seriously in the beginning. Now they are paying a price for that.

    I always call companies out for blaming the consumer and not taking personal responsibility. Every time that a customer support agent refuses to acknowledge a problem being reported to them, I call them out. My bank was down today, and some of their Twitter reps continued to offer me help getting the problem fixed, as if it was something at my end... and this was hours after the problem started! Yah, I don't stand for that. I don't blame the individual reps, I blame the overall company for a poor setup.

    racerhomie3williamlondonlkruppdysamoria
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Convenient timing.

    Apple does need to be questioned for why they responded in the way that they did, and I'd like to know who fed this information to the media, unless the media figured it out on their own after seeing the original tweets by the mother? It sounds like she handled it as well as expected, and that Apple did not take her reports seriously in the beginning. Now they are paying a price for that.

    I always call companies out for blaming the consumer and not taking personal responsibility. Every time that a customer support agent refuses to acknowledge a problem being reported to them, I call them out. My bank was down today, and some of their Twitter reps continued to offer me help getting the problem fixed, as if it was something at my end... and this was hours after the problem started! Yah, I don't stand for that. I don't blame the individual reps, I blame the overall company for a poor setup.

    A whole week of people listening in to a few seconds of nothing while people consider answering a call!  OMG it’s the end of the world. They responded just fine. A day or two quicker would have been good, but oh well. 
    racerhomie3MisterKitauxiobrucemcpscooter63jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    Not sure how he could know that the originating caller exploited the bug in question. I would imagine Apple has server logs for all Facetime activity - should be simple for Apple to get the case tossed.
    And make sure his face and name are known to every single Apple employee in the world. Allow no Apple products to be sold to this cretin.
    That would be a bit too much.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 12 of 26
    I guess, like most people, this lawyer didn't read the EULA, which almost certainly disavows any blame or consequential damages from bugs in Apple's software... ...carefully written by his professional brethren.
    MisterKitbrucemcdysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 26
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Just another scum bag lawyer looking to make a quick buck. We all know his claim is bull$h1t. 
    Depositions on a phone?? What a lazy lawyer🤣
    The lawyer was not taking the deposition on the iPhone - he apparently had an iPhone with him. I would think that having anything other than a court reporter is kinda dumb.

    Making accusations like yours is where the laziness comes in! On the other hand QA did kind of drop the bal.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 673member
    The part about Apple being told about this a week before and not acting on it is the real issue.  Then when it goes viral they fix it within 12 hours.  I know Apple didn't purposely ignore this issue, but someone who didn't escalate it quickly or properly needs to be fired.  If on Jan 23 this were disabled then this is never heard about.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 336member
    I am sure the law school this lawyer graduated from is rolling their eyes.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 26
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,464member
    amar99 said:
    I wouldn't mind if AppleInsider didn't report stories like this. It just gives the wrong people publicity.
    And feeds the trolls.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    So 99.9% of all reports of a bug are either nonsense or trivial from a security point of view. This one is reported to be found by a 14yo and so an Apple rep put it in the appropriate pile of things (queue) to be looked into. Based on the fact that most bug reports from customers over state the seriousness of the bug -they- find... a week is not unreasonable for an unverified (at the time) bug. Even companies like Apple have limited resources and while, in hind site, this looks bad, I can't blame Apple for not stopping the world and putting $1B into fixing it ASAP when it also has probably 10,000 other bug reports in the same queue to filter...

    At the worst this is a failure of a rep not classifying a bugs severity level correctly,  and not Apple as a company taking it lightly!  How detailed was the initial report? Detailed enough for Apple to reproduce it easily? or just "audio leaked during Facetime call" with no detailed procedure attached!, As a SW developer, one of the hardest things to do is reproduce an error that our professional testers report to us, never mind Joe-Blow on the internet(s).

    Once Apple discovered the severity of the bug they took the appropriate action... Shutting down a new and highly hyped feature to great negative press! Think Google or Facebook would have taken these steps? I think NOT!

    Apple will take a hit on this, but in reality, I don't think their reaction (time or effort) is all that unreasonable.
    brucemcwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 26
    davendaven Posts: 548member
    Convenient timing.

    Apple does need to be questioned for why they responded in the way that they did, and I'd like to know who fed this information to the media, unless the media figured it out on their own after seeing the original tweets by the mother? It sounds like she handled it as well as expected, and that Apple did not take her reports seriously in the beginning. Now they are paying a price for that.

    I always call companies out for blaming the consumer and not taking personal responsibility. Every time that a customer support agent refuses to acknowledge a problem being reported to them, I call them out. My bank was down today, and some of their Twitter reps continued to offer me help getting the problem fixed, as if it was something at my end... and this was hours after the problem started! Yah, I don't stand for that. I don't blame the individual reps, I blame the overall company for a poor setup.

    Because it takes more than one second to elevate a problem to the point where you shut down part of a big functioning system. Do people really think that a staff level support person has the authority to shut down a feature in a chat program the moment they learn of a potential bug? Have you seen the steps you have to go through to replicate it? You have to jump through a number of hoops to do it.
    stompyjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 26
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,719member
    airnerd said:
    The part about Apple being told about this a week before and not acting on it is the real issue.  Then when it goes viral they fix it within 12 hours.  I know Apple didn't purposely ignore this issue, but someone who didn't escalate it quickly or properly needs to be fired.  If on Jan 23 this were disabled then this is never heard about.
    How many employees monitor its social media accounts? How many posts do they have to sift through? Sometimes it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack but only if you know a needle is in there in the first place. 
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 26
    Stop calling them bugs; start calling them lawsuit opportunities. 
    backstabHeliBumwatto_cobra
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