Security concerns revolve around FaceTime

The new FaceTime for OS X application that allows for videoconferencing with iOS devices has come with a couple of security concerns involving the way account information is handled by the new program.

The new FaceTime for OS X application that allows for videoconferencing with iOS devices has come with a couple of security concerns involving the way account information is handled by the new program.

When the program is run and you've logged in to your account, the program will show information about you in a window next to the video display. This will make it easier to change account information for that user, since it shows birthdate information as well as the security question and answer needed to change the account information. All this can be shown without requiring a second password.

FaceTime Account Window
FaceTime will show Apple ID account recovery information with a few clicks, and no prompt for a password.

With this information, a thief can go to the Apple accounts Web page and reset passwords, change the associated e-mail addresses, or otherwise get more information about you.

Relatively minor security concerns
Technically, since the account information can be seen by not providing a password or other authentication method first, any person can sit down at your computer and launch FaceTime to get your information; however, it does require physical access to the system, and if that happens then Apple account ID security may not be the greatest of concerns.

With physical access to any system, people may be able to recover numerous passwords and information, and get sensitive documents, pictures, and other personal information. However, this usually will take some time, and FaceTime brings some important user information to the surface, quickly allowing someone to launch the program and get your information if you leave your computer in a public place for a few minutes.

This is a concern, but should not be a major one, especially if you invoke other security measures on your system, such as screensaver passwords or locking your screen when you leave it in a public area. Nevertheless, you might consider avoiding the current public beta of the program until Apple addresses this issue, especially if you regularly have your system in areas where others may access it.



Questions? Comments? Have a fix? Post them below or e-mail us!
Be sure to check us out on Twitter and the CNET Mac forums.

Tags:
Computers
About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments