FaceTime Mac security flaw could give away your personal data

iphone-4Update: Apple has fixed the problem via a software update on their servers. Even if you have the old version of the client, the problem has been fixed, and no other action is required on your end.

During Apple’s “Back to the Mac” press event, a number of announcements were made, including the availability of video conferencing between Mac computers and iOS mobile devices like the iPhone 4 through FaceTime.

On the same day as the announcement, Apple released a beta version of FaceTime for Mac, which technically works fine with the iPhone 4, but presents security loopholes that could give unauthorized persons access to sensitive account iTunes information.

While using FaceTime on your Mac, by simply navigating through the settings options, you are able to view and change account information, even the answer to your secret security question appears in normal plain text.

The ability to view the security question could allow a user to change the account password by simply entering the answer to the security question after clicking on the Forgot Password link.

The security flaw only appears to display the information visually on-screen, and does not include any other flaw that could give remote machine access to hackers. Due to this, although important, the security vulnerability presents very marginal risk to users that use desktop iMac computers at home.

Users who use portable OS X computers, like the MacBook, should refrain from using FaceTime for Mac until the company releases an updated client build that patches the vulnerability.

It could be argued that the security flaw is very marginal, since a person would need to have direct physical access to your machine to view the confidential information, as opposed to a security hole that could give hackers silent remote access to the data.

As an alternative to FaceTime for Mac, users can opt to use Yahoo Messenger, which now includes cross-platform video conferencing capabilities between the iPhone 4 and any other platform that supports the Yahoo Messenger video protocol, including Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, among other popular operating platforms, however, some would argue FaceTime is superior as it is simpler and offers superior video quality.

People who continue to use the unfixed version of FaceTime for Mac should exercise added caution to ensure the integrity of their accounts, including their ITunes account, since the user would be liable for any expenses incurred, even as a result of improper unauthorized use.


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Murad is an engineering graduate from Centennial college in Toronto, Canada. Write to murad@business2press.com
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  • http://twitter.com/cdtek Sean

    FaceTime is a really cool feature. I was wondering when they would get around to releasing it for Desktops. Now to convince others to use it…

  • http://twitter.com/cdtek Sean

    FaceTime is a really cool feature. I was wondering when they would get around to releasing it for Desktops. Now to convince others to use it…

  • Guest

    Already fixed.

  • Guest

    Already fixed.

  • Rob

    Mactards…
    Normal person – “hey dude that facetime will suck up your data like crazy and is only usable with someone on the same platform and will expose your personal data”
    fanboy – “I dont care I love it it’s the bomb”
    Normal person – “DUDE! It’s got security issues!”
    fanboy – “I still love it”
    Normal person – “…why”
    fanboy – with a vacant stare “because it’s mac and steve jobs tells me it’s the greatest thing ever”
    Normal person – *shrugs*

    • Anonymous

      Fanboy – Because I can talk to my loved ones and see them or they can click on the camera and show me where they are and its interactive and above all.. it’s completely FREE.
      Normal person – Wow face time is free? You mean the cellular/phone service companies are not getting any revenue for a new advancement that really works great? And it works on IPODS/MACs and iPHONE?? WOW!!
      Fanboy – Excellent quality, world wide video conferencing for completely free and works great!
      Normal Person – (weird pause) Wow I am going to go buy one. I am now a Apple Fan-boy!

      Logical Conversion Complete! Another Happy Apple customer.

      (People who cant afford Apple products or Just standard loons who hate Apple products begin your flaming now)

    • Anonymous

      Fanboy – Because I can talk to my loved ones and see them or they can click on the camera and show me where they are and its interactive and above all.. it’s completely FREE.
      Normal person – Wow face time is free? You mean the cellular/phone service companies are not getting any revenue for a new advancement that really works great? And it works on IPODS/MACs and iPHONE?? WOW!!
      Fanboy – Excellent quality, world wide video conferencing for completely free and works great!
      Normal Person – (weird pause) Wow I am going to go buy one. I am now a Apple Fan-boy!

      Logical Conversion Complete! Another Happy Apple customer.

      (People who cant afford Apple products or Just standard loons who hate Apple products begin your flaming now)

  • Rob

    Mactards…
    Normal person – “hey dude that facetime will suck up your data like crazy and is only usable with someone on the same platform and will expose your personal data”
    fanboy – “I dont care I love it it’s the bomb”
    Normal person – “DUDE! It’s got security issues!”
    fanboy – “I still love it”
    Normal person – “…why”
    fanboy – with a vacant stare “because it’s mac and steve jobs tells me it’s the greatest thing ever”
    Normal person – *shrugs*

  • Flickingpoo

    dude…it’s beta

    • Johnengineer

      well why would they rush this out? Apple is supposed to be top notch on security. this is a joke.

    • Johnengineer

      well why would they rush this out? Apple is supposed to be top notch on security. this is a joke.

  • http://business2press.com Hercules K

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Apple has fixed the issue. At the time this article was published, the company had yet addressed the issue.

    An update to this post has been made. I’ve pasted the update in this comment to ensure all readers see it, due to caching.

    Update: Apple has fixed the problem via a software update on their servers. Even if you have the old version of the client, the problem has been fixed, and no other action is required on your end.

  • http://business2press.com Hercules K

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Apple has fixed the issue. At the time this article was published, the company had yet addressed the issue.

    An update to this post has been made. I’ve pasted the update in this comment to ensure all readers see it, due to caching.

    Update: Apple has fixed the problem via a software update on their servers. Even if you have the old version of the client, the problem has been fixed, and no other action is required on your end.

  • Janoudio

    WOW, THIS WAS A SERVER SIDE UPGRADE? JUST IMAGINE WHAT ELSE THEY COULD “UPDATE” AND PUSH TO YOUR COMPUTER

    • Markussss

      Server side update means that nothing was changed on your computer…

    • Markussss

      Server side update means that nothing was changed on your computer…

  • Janoudio

    WOW, THIS WAS A SERVER SIDE UPGRADE? JUST IMAGINE WHAT ELSE THEY COULD “UPDATE” AND PUSH TO YOUR COMPUTER

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4LSDKHSM67UXMYWNMYGPGMNMKM John Knights

    The sheer uselessness of arguments by people who don’t have the first clue what the issue was is breathtaking…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4LSDKHSM67UXMYWNMYGPGMNMKM John Knights

    The sheer uselessness of arguments by people who don’t have the first clue what the issue was is breathtaking…

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