Flaw in Walkie-Talkie App on Apple Watch Allows Spying

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Apple has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch after learning of a serious vulnerability that can be exploited to spy on users.

The Walkie-Talkie app installed on the Apple Watch allows users to communicate with other users with a compatible Watch just as they would through a traditional walkie-talkie — you press a button to talk and release it when you’re ready for the other party to talk.

According to TechCrunch, Apple has temporarily disabled the app after someone informed the company of a security hole through its vulnerability disclosure program. Until Apple releases a patch, the application will continue to be installed on watches, but it will not work.

The vulnerability reportedly allows an attacker to use another user’s iPhone as a listening device, but no other details have been made public.

“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,” Apple stated. “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.”

The news comes a few months after Apple disabled the Group feature in FaceTime due to a vulnerability that could have been exploited to spy on users through their device’s microphone and camera. Lawmakers and state authorities raised concerns about how Apple handled the flaw.

Related: Apple Claims Parental Control Apps Removed Due to Use of MDM

Related: Apple Steps in: Removes Zoom Web Server From All Macs

Related: Apple Patches SQLite, WebKit Bugs in iTunes and iCloud for Windows

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Previous Columns by Eduard Kovacs:
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