Apple has been known to be quite big on privacy and the likes. iOS for iPhone is considered to be solid blockade against intrusion and breach of privacy. However, after recent scandals broke out about how the Cupertian giant was intentionally slowing down your iPhone to conserve battery and how a Telugu character can literally lock your iPhone, many people are questioning iOS’ feasibility as a privacy centric system.
In light of recent events, hackers seem to have found out another loophole that will leave your privacy quite useless. This new breach of privacy is actually related to Apple’s AI voice assistant and it can affect devices with MacOS as well.
It doesn’t matter what kind of passcode and authentication you have enabled on your device. The bug allows anyone to access your hidden message notifications on any kind of iPhone, if they just ask Siri to read them aloud.
However, there seems to be a catch here though. As per several reports the bug only applies to all the third-party applications such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Slack. Apple’s own Messages app remains unaffected and Siri will only read out content once the phone has been unlocked.
The privacy bug was first seen by a Brazilian publication by the name of Mac Magazine which found out that Siri could read the content of most of your messages although your content cannot be seen on the lock screen.
The report confirmed that the bug currently exists in both iOS 11.2.6 which is currently the latest stable version and also on the beta of iOS 11.3 which should come somewhere in Spring 2018.
Fix: Disable Siri?
For those unaware of how the iOS system functions, all message notifications are hidden by default on the lock screen. The user is first alerted that a notification from an app has arrived, but all the contents are not revealed unless the device is unlocked.
Now there is a simple fix for this problem. You can disable Siri from responding on the locked screen. For you to do this you would need to head to Settings > Siri & Search > Allow Siri When Locked. When you have selected this toggle then Siri won’t be able to read out messages when the phone is locked.
However, this proves to be a major problem as Siri should be able to distinguish voices as its counterparts Alexa and Google Assistant do. If you pay for a premium service such as Apple’s, it is only fair to expect that such problems do not arise in the system.
Apple claims to be “aware” of the bug and also explained that a fix was on its way. The statement by Apple said, “We are aware of the issue and it will be addressed in an upcoming software update.”