Apple Watch’s Walkie-Talkie App Disabled Due to Eavesdropping Bug

Apple Disables Walkie-Talkie App On Apple Watch; Cites Eavesdropping Vulnerability

Apple Disables Walkie-Talkie App On Apple Watch; Cites Eavesdropping Vulnerability

Case in point, it seems that Apple reacted to reports of this latest "vulnerability related to the Walkie-Talkie app" very promptly, disabling the function before the flaw could ever be exploited out in the wild and obviously working on a fix to be deployed as soon as possible.

While Apple's operating systems are generally viewed as more secure than their (Google or Microsoft-made) counterparts, no such complicated piece of software can ever be truly infallible. Apple hasn't fully disclosed how the vulnerability would have worked.

Apple has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch due to an eavesdropping bug that allows one to eavesdrop on other iPhone users. While we don't know the "specific conditions and sequences of events" a potential malicious agent could have employed to exploit the vulnerability against actual users, its nature sounds pretty scary.

Walkie-Talkie was released to owners of the Apple Watch previous year and allows them to talk directly with other users just by speaking into their wrist.

It was added a year ago with the release of watchOS 5, and is only supposed to allow willing participants to chat with each other.

The Walkie Talkie app will remain installed on the Watch until Apple releases the fix, but it won't be functional until an update is released. 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. In the meantime, you'll just have to hold off on using this feature on your Apple Watch.

Apple was criticized at the time for being too slow to respond to the bug.

In January, it emerged that FaceTime Group Calling could be exploited to let snoopers listen in on an iPhone owner.

However, it appears to have acted much quicker with the Walkie-Talkie flaw.

It comes three days after a researcher revealed a vulnerability on video-conferencing service Zoom's Mac app, which left users vulnerable to having their webcams remotely activated.

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