Arizona teen discovers Apple FaceTime group chat flaw

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- We're learning more about the Apple FaceTime flaw that allows people to listen and watch you without your knowledge -- and a Tucson, Arizona high school freshman is the one who discovered the bug.

It was just a normal night in the life of a 14-year-old. Grant Thompson and his friends were getting ready to play "Fortnite."

"I tried to FaceTime my friend Nathan to see if he wanted to play some video games with me. And he didn't answer right away. So I swiped up to add another person, my friend Diego," he said.

Little did this high school freshman know, a night of video games would turn into something much bigger.

"I was looking at my Xbox and I got a notification of someone joining the FaceTime. So I was like, hey Nathan, what's up? And he was pretty confused at first. Like Grant? How can you hear me?"

That confusion turned out to be a major bug in the group FaceTime software.

"Pretty shocked that we could hear him and he could hear us even though he never clicked accept."

Grant, his mother Michele and his sister Lauren recreated the glitch that night. The next day, on January 20, Michele tried to get Apple's attention.

"I'm pretty tenacious when something bothers me or I think something isn't right. So I thought of all avenues."

She took to Facebook and Twitter, even sending a letter on her law firm's letterhead. Then she made a phone call and sent e-mails. She received a response through e-mail about what steps she should take, but received no indication from Apple that her concerns were being looked at.

"It was frustrating. That being said. I am also a busy mom with a career so I'm juggling trying to manage that and making sure that I could let Apple know that I thought there was a major security issue."

After nine days of silence and a public statement saying they were aware of the issue, Apple finally reached out to the Thompsons.

Apple deactivated the FaceTime group chat feature on January 28, but anyone can disable FaceTime on their phone by going to Settings, FaceTime and toggling off the green button at the top of the screen.

Apple System Status

Use Group FaceTime on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch