Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app pulled over eavesdropping fears

Apple has disabled the Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app after being made aware of a vulnerability that made it possible to eavesdrop on other iPhone users.

The company released a statement saying it was informed of the issue via its vulnerability portal and has moved swiftly to remove the functionality from Apple Watch devices.

Introduced with watchOS 5 in September last year, the app is designed for Apple Watch owners to exchange quick voice messages with each other, just as the name would suggest. The fun feature has operated seamlessly until now, but it appears there’s been a vulnerability in there pertaining to iPhone eavesdropping all along.

Related: Apple watchOS 6

Apple didn’t go into specifics on how the bug works, but said it wasn’t aware of anyone exploiting it.

In a statement (via Wareable), the company wrote: “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 issues comes following a FaceTime bug that saw callers picking up audio from the recipients before they even answered the call.

The Apple Watch seems to be a less serious issue because there’s no evidence of it being exploited in the wild. We’ll keep you posted when Apple restores functionality.

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