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Apple takes watchOS Walkie-Talkie off the air while fixing new security hole

Apple takes watchOS Walkie-Talkie off the air while fixing new security hole

Remember the FaceTime bug that was discovered earlier this year? Well, something similar happened now with another Apple feature – this time the app Walkie-Talkie, which allows Apple Watch owners to send audio messages to each other.

Apple informed the TechCrunch who disabled the watch app due to a new, unspecified vulnerability that allowed someone to access another user’s iPhone microphone (and listen to it) without their consent.

Despite the severity of the flaw, Apple says there is no current evidence that the vulnerability has been exploited, so it is likely that no user has been affected. Also according to the company, the error was reported through a report on its vulnerability and security page.

As we reported, the company has temporarily disabled the feature until a fix can be made and implemented on the devices. The Walkie-Talkie App will remain installed, but it will not work until the company comes up with a solution to the problem.

We have been informed of a vulnerability related to the Walkie-Talkie application on the Apple Watch and have disabled the feature while fixing the problem as soon as possible. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore functionality as soon as possible. Although we are not aware of any use of the vulnerability against any customer, and that there are specific conditions and sequences of events to exploit it, we take the security and privacy of our customers extremely seriously. We concluded that disabling the app was the right way to go, as this failure could allow someone to hear another customer’s iPhone without consent. We apologize again for this problem and for the inconvenience.

Last January, a similar vulnerability in FaceTime allowed someone to hear the other party’s call even before a call was accepted. The problem gave Apple serious headaches [1, 2], who even offered a sum of money to the teenager who discovered the flaw.

The Walkie-Talkie app was launched last year, with the watchOS 5. We even published a tutorial on how to use the feature.