Earlier this week I was doing what I do best, scrolling through the Twitter explore page of course. As I was sifting through the daily news about Trump (sigh), I found trending tweets and articles talking about how an Apple FaceTime bug could allow some users to hear audio and video before the call was accepted or not. This was straight out of some dystopian blockbuster. This is the first tweet that caught my attention.
I immediately went to Apple’s server status page to see if Apple was aware of this terrifying issue. I saw that the FaceTime server was yellow and was classified as an issue and group FaceTime was disabled, since that seemed to be the culprit that allowed individuals to hear the others audio.
On January 19, 2018 the glitch was discovered by a 14-year-old boy in Arizona. His mother took to social media and emailed and faxed the security team and it was not until a week later that action was taken. Apple has thanked the young boy who helped discover the flaw. A security bug this large should have been handled much more quickly by Apple, considering how many people are iPhone users. This issue has already been called “FacePalm” by security researchers.
As a PR major I was imagining all the ways to manage a cyber-crisis of this size. I was also very curious to how Apple was going to remain transparent with the public. Apple sincerely apologized and that the issue has been fixed on the server size and to expect an iOS update soon. They also stated, “We are committed to improving the process by which we receive and escalate these reports, in order to get them to the right people as fast as possible. We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”
Apple was quick to address the issue once it became well-known, but was slow to respond when it was discovered a week prior. Apple was straight forward with its statement and even brought to light the fact that it needs to improve the process of reports, this transparency allows for users to understand its dedication to security. Apple did the right thing apologizing to the public and stating what has been put into place to resolve this issue.
Apple hit all the right bullet points with its statement. It addressed the issue, thanked the boy who discovered it, apologized, assured its customer’s and showed what steps have been made to fix it. The situation is a scary mess, but the response was crystal clear and left no room for ambiguities.