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Apple Axe Watch Walkie-Talkie Over Spying

Apple has disabled its Watch wearable’s Walkie-Talkie app after discovering it could be used to eavesdrop on the iPhone conversations of some users.

The find comes days after the revelation Mac users could be spied on through the Zoom teleconferencing client.

The Walkie-Talkie app, introduced in WatchOS5 last year, had allowed connected users to send each other push-to-talk audio.

Apple has disabled the app while it works on a fix, but hasn’t disclosed specifics on the vulnerability.

The company told TechCrunch that it’s unaware of any users actually being spied on at this stage.

“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,” the Cupertino company said.

The company became aware of the bug through a website portal that allows users to report any security vulnerabilities they find in Apple products.

The app will remain installed on devices but all functionality has been disabled for the time.

It’s the second eavesdropping embarrassment for Apple this year, after the discovery of a FaceTime flaw that allowed people to listen in on the other end of the conversation before they’d actually joined it in January.

This week Apple moved to remove the Zoom teleconferencing client after it was revealed malicious websites could force Mac users to unwittingly join video calls, even if they had uninstalled the client.

 

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