Following the release of iOS 12.1.4, Apple today issued an apology to customers and said that it had found and fixed the Group FaceTime bug and an additional security vulnerability involving Live Photos in the FaceTime app.
From a statement provided to MacRumors:
Today’s software update fixes the security bug in Group FaceTime. We again apologize to our customers and we thank them for their patience. In addition to addressing the bug that was reported, our team conducted a thorough security audit of the FaceTime service and made additional updates to both the FaceTime app and server to improve security. This includes a previously unidentified vulnerability in the Live Photos feature of FaceTime. To protect customers who have not yet upgraded to the latest software, we have updated our servers to block the Live Photos feature of FaceTime for older versions of iOS and macOS."
Going forward, Apple says that the Live Photos feature will not be available in FaceTime on older versions of iOS and macOS. Capturing a Live Photo will require iOS 12.1.4 or the new version of macOS 10.14.3. Apple is also restricting Group FaceTime from devices running earlier versions of iOS.
Apple fixed a logic issue that existed in the handling of Group FaceTime calls with improved state management, and the Group FaceTime testing led to the discovery of the Live Photos issue. Apple says that the Live Photos bug was fixed with "improved validation on the FaceTime server."
Additional Foundation and IOKit bugs were fixed in iOS as well, addressing memory corruption issues that could lead to elevated privileges for applications.
Apple lists Grant Thompson of Catalina Foothills High School as one of the people who discovered the FaceTime bug. Thompson and his mother made multiple attempts to get into contact with Apple to inform the company of the bug well ahead of when it went public. Daven Morris of Arlington, TX is also listed as a person who discovered the vulnerability and reported it to Apple.
Apple has apologized for missing those messages and has vowed to improve its bug reporting system to make sure future bug reports are distributed to the right people. Apple will be compensating the Thompson family for finding and reporting the bug, and Apple will be providing an additional scholarship to be put towards Thompson’s education.
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