Friday, April 27, 2018 by David Williams
If you use one of the newer iPhones and it’s running on the latest iPhone software, your phone may be affected by a software bug that could lead to a clear violation of your privacy. All iPhones are equipped with Siri, Apple’s own voice-activated digital assistant that can be used to read things aloud. Now there are reports that it suffers a bug wherein it can read out the contents of supposedly private messages even if a phone is locked.
This is based on information from Brazilian Apple enthusiast site MacMagazine.com.br, where a reader sent in details regarding the bug. It seems that the bug allows anyone to access hidden message notifications on iPhones even if they are locked by taking advantage of this bug. This can be done by simply asking Siri to read the messages aloud, by saying “read my notifications,” which it proceeds to do and performs with great ease, especially if the messages are written in English.
What’s scary is that Siri is able to read out the contents of the notifications no matter what type of app is showing them. The only exception is reportedly Apple’s own Messages app, which isn’t included in the notifications that Siri can read aloud while a phone is locked. Instead, Siri can only read out the contents of notifications from the Messages app if a phone is unlocked.
Affected apps include the likes of Skype, Telegram, and WhatsApp. So if you use any of those apps, or use similar apps for messaging your friends, family, and acquaintances, then your messages could likely be exposed through this Siri software exploit. And again, unlocking a phone won’t be necessary as Siri can be activated from the lock screen and simply asked to read out the contents of hidden notifications.
For its part, Apple was quick to acknowledge the existence of the issue. In a statement provided to U.S. Apple fan site MacRumors.com, the Cupertino-based company said, “we are aware of the issue and it will be addressed in an upcoming software update.” And they will likely work hard to keep the software bug from happening again in future versions of iOS, Apple’s iPhone software, particularly those that are past iOS 11.3. (Related: Apple accused of deliberately slowing older products to persuade people to buy new iPhones.)
Apple is certainly no stranger to controversy when it comes to problems that are plaguing their products. Most recently, they were forced to admit that they had been issuing software updates to users that intentionally slowed down older devices, thereby making them slightly less usable. And with every update, the slowness would keep on getting worse until, at a certain point, a user will be left with no choice but to simply upgrade to a newer model – or else stop using their Apple product altogether. Apple later fixed this particular software issue, but not after letting it affect millions of users worldwide.
They’ve shown their good side by acting quickly on this Siri privacy bug, but likely wouldn’t have brought it up anywhere, much less fixed it, if it wasn’t disclosed to the media by a third party. Your personal data and privacy are becoming more and more valuable by the minute, and it’s time that tech companies like Apple are held more liable and more accountable with every problem that arises from their own practices.
Learn more about the latest attacks on privacy in PrivacyWatch.news.