Apple to reward the teenager who discovered FaceTime bug

The tech giant will give an undisclosed sum to the high school student who discovered a security issue in the video-calling app

FILE- In this Jan. 31, 2019, file photo Grant Thompson and his mother, Michele, look at an iPhone in the family's kitchen in Tucson, Ariz., on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Apple has released an iPhone update to fix a FaceTime flaw that allowed people to eavesdrop on others while using its group video chat feature. The repair is included in the latest version of Apple's iOS 12 system, which became available to install Thursday. Apple credited the Tucson teenager, Grant Thompson, for discovering the FaceTime bug. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff, File)
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The American teenager who found a security flaw in Apple's FaceTime video-calling service will be compensated for his efforts.

High school student Grant Thompson, 14, will be rewarded for discovering the bug, which allowed callers to briefly listen in on other users, Apple announced on Friday.

The news coincides with the technology giant rolling out an iPhone update to fix the software issue, which affected group calling on FaceTime.

The bug allowed users to eavesdrop on conversations by activating another person's microphone remotely before the user accepted an incoming call.

FILE - In this June 4, 2018 file photo, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, speaks about group FaceTime during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif.  Apple says it has fixed the internal bug that led to people being able to eavesdrop on others while using its group video chat feature. It plans to turn the service back on next week via a software update. The bug allowed many iPhone users to turn an iPhone into a live microphone while using Group FaceTime. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, speaks about group FaceTime when it was first announced in 2018. AP

Thompson, from Arizona, discovered the flaw late last month, with Apple subsequently turning off the group-chat feature on FaceTime until the issue was fixed.

The FaceTime fix is included in the latest version of Apple's iOS 12 system, which launched on Thursday.

"We sincerely apologise to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue," the company said last week.

"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."

The teenager and his mother tried to contact the company for more than a week before Apple acknowledged the issue.

The company has since apologised for the delay, and revealed plans to issue Thompson with a reward for his sleuthing.

The undisclosed amount will go towards paying the teenager's college tuition fees and expenses, his mother told AP.