Home / Technology / A new scary vulnerability in Apple Watch disables a popular app while a patch is being developed

A new scary vulnerability in Apple Watch disables a popular app while a patch is being developed



The industry-leading Apple Watch range is owing its immense popularity to not only a revolutionary set of life-saving technologies, but also to a handy set of smooth wrist communication features. In addition to the cellular connectivity (optional) integrated directly into the last two generations of the iPhone-compatible portable device, a clever application called Walkie-Talkie has been launched in 2018 with instant messaging features.

This received a lot of attention when the watchOS 5 update was made available, supporting the Apple Watch Series 1 to 4 watches and resembling a convenient alternative for traditional voice calls and SMS. , especially for the best selling variants of the smartwatch family worldwide. Of course, the buzz is quickly faded, but the walkie-talkie feature is back in the spotlight … for all the wrong reasons.

Major vulnerability discovery, application disabled

While Apple's operating systems are generally considered more secure than their counterparts (designed by Google or Microsoft), no such complex software can be truly foolproof. What often distinguishes the Cupertino-based tech giant from the competition is how it reacts to internal or external discoveries of security problems.

As it turns out, it seems that Apple reacted very quickly to the reports on the latter "Walkie-Talkie vulnerability", disabling the function before the flaw could be exploited at the moment. Wild and obviously working on a patch to deploy. As soon as possible. Although we do not know the "specific conditions and event sequences" that a potential malicious agent might have used to exploit the vulnerability against real users, its nature seems rather scary.

A new scary vulnerability in Apple Watch disables a popular app while a patch is being developed

Apparently, the flaw could have allowed a fairly skilled hacker to "listen without permission through another client's iPhone". No further details are provided on the path of this invasion of privacy, but you can probably understand why Apple needed to take such quick, decisive and extreme measures, making the Walkie Talkie feature unusable when to the point of a fix.

What exactly is the walkie talkie and why you should not worry

We could certainly explain the operation of the application in a hundred words, but we prefer to let the floor to the official promotional video of 2 minutes of Apple, which covers all the key points in detail. Although somewhat fanciful, we can absolutely understand why some users would find the walkie-talkie useful in some scenarios. Writing a text or making a call on their iPhone is just not as convenient.

At the same time, it should be noted that you need to configure the Facetime app on your iPhone and be able to make and receive FaceTime audio calls so that Walkie Talkie on your Apple Watch (Series 1 or later) is operational. This essentially means that this security vulnerability is also indirectly related to FaceTime, which is certainly not a good image for the otherwise incredibly popular video and audio communication service.

At the end of the day, although iPhone and Apple Watch users have every reason to be bothered by these discoveries and the temporary deactivation of Walkie-Talkie application, it is important to remember that this vulnerability has never been exploited (at least for Apple's current knowledge) and functionality will be restored "as soon as possible".


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