Home / Technology / Apple pulls from Walkie-Talkie app after Glitch has created an abusive listening vulnerability

Apple pulls from Walkie-Talkie app after Glitch has created an abusive listening vulnerability


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has disabled the Walkie Talkie application on Apple Watches after discovering a security breach that could allow a person to listen to the iPhone conversation of someone else without consent, the second problem related to illicit listening that the company has been brought to resolve in recent months as technical control giants are intensifying.

Apple did not disclose the nature of the vulnerability, but said that it had temporarily disabled the application as it corrected the problem. The company stated that it knew of no case where a user would have been hurt by the problem, which required that specific conditions and sequences be exposed.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company reported being notified of the problem through an online portal that allows customers to report problems with Apple products. The Walkie-Talkie app, implemented by Apple in its watches via the watchOS5 operating system, allows two users to send audio to the user's help desk. A conversation button.

"We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore functionality as soon as possible," said the company in a statement. TechCrunch had previously reported the vulnerability of the Walkie Talkie application.

Large technology companies face a scrutiny of their data privacy and market power practices. Representatives of companies such as Apple are expected to testify at antitrust hearings that will take place next week in Washington, DC.

Apple announced in June that it would add new privacy features to the iPhone with the release of iOS 13 this fall, including a tool allowing users to connect to iPhone apps without revealing their personal information, such as an e-mail address. It will also introduce a feature designed to make it easier for consumers to see how applications are tracking their position.

In January, Apple struggled to solve a bug that allowed a user calling another person through the FaceTime app to listen to conversations that were happening at the other end, even if the other user did not accepted their call. Even if it required several steps, the problem could have been used to spy on parts with devices left unattended or to receive an unauthorized video stream from an iPhone.

While Apple was finally proposing a software solution to the problem, the New York Attorney General's Office opened an investigation into the fact that Apple had not warned consumers of the problem, as well as the slowness of its response to the problem. . An Arizona teenager and his mother had reported the problem more than a week before Apple's response.

A representative of the Attorney General's Office in New York could not be contacted immediately to comment on the status of this investigation.

Apple later apologized for the flaw and said it would compensate the teenager. The company did not reveal the details of the payment.

Write to Sebastian Herrera at Sebastian.Herrera@wsj.com

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