Apple disabled the Walkie Talkie app for the Apple Watch after reports that a vulnerability could allow users to tap into another person’s iPhone and eavesdrop on conversations without their consent.
The company told TechCrunch on Thursday that it had temporarily taken the app offline until it could adequately fix the issue. The Walkie Talkie app will remain installed on users devices, but it will not work for the time being.
Apple’s vulnerability portal was alerted about the bug, but there is no current evidence that anyone exploited it to listen in on users.
Digital Trends reached out to Apple for comment, and Apple referred us back to their statement to TechCrunch:
“We were just made aware of a vulnerability related to the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch and have disabled the function as we quickly fix the issue. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore the functionality as soon as possible. Although we are not aware of any use of the vulnerability against a customer and specific conditions and sequences of events are required to exploit it, we take the security and privacy of our customers extremely seriously. We concluded that disabling the app was the right course of action as this bug could allow someone to listen through another customer’s iPhone without consent. We apologize again for this issue and the inconvenience.”
The Walkie-Talkie app is a popular Apple Watch feature that allows push-to-talk calls with other Apple Watch users, similar to that of an old-fashioned walkie-talkie. The app debuted to Apple Watch users last September with the watchOS 5 update.
Apple had a similar privacy bug with its FaceTime app in January, which let you listen to the audio of the person you’re calling before they’ve even answered. It took Apple a week to fix that particular issue.
On Wednesday, the Zoom app, which allows video conferencing, was revealed to have a security flaw for those who use the app on Macs. The specific vulnerability let websites launch video calls and even turn on users’ webcam without their permission. In response, Apple removed Zoom’s web server software from Macs to prevent further privacy concerns.
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