Serious Vulnerabilities Discovered in Group Face Time Apps

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Threat actors utilized Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, Signal, JioChat, and Mocha messaging apps vulnerabilities to their advantage by listening to user’s surroundings without any consent before the user on the other side received the call.


Natalie Silvanovich, a Google project Security Researcher discovered the [Group Face Time] bug in multiple video conferencing mobile applications and now all the vulnerabilities in these apps are fixed. iPhones, renowned across the globe for their security features were reported with a critical flaw in January 2019. 

Apple’s FaceTime group chat vulnerabilities allowed hackers to start off a FaceTime video call and eavesdrop on targets. Threat actors tricked the users by attaching their own number as a third person in a group chat right before the user on the other end received the call. This vulnerability was considered so critical that forced the company to eradicate the FaceTime group chats feature. Later, the issue was resolved via iOS update.

Natalie Silvanovich stated that “I investigated the signalling state machines of seven video conferencing applications and found five vulnerabilities that could allow a caller device to force a callee device to transmit audio or video data. Theoretically, ensuring callee consent before audio or video transmission should be a fairly simple matter of waiting until the user accepts the call before adding any tracks to the application”. 

“however when I looked at real applications, they enabled transmission in many different ways. Most of these led to vulnerabilities that allowed calls to be connected without interaction from the callee”, she further added. 

In December 2020 the Google Duo bug, a race condition that permitted callees to leak video packets from unanswered calls to the caller was patched. Two relatable vulnerabilities were discovered in the Mocha messengers and JioChat in July 2020; vulnerabilities that permitted sending JioChat audio, patched in July 2020. Mocha messengers audio and video bugs were patched in August 2020 after exploitation by the threat actors.

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