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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

A serious security flaw has prompted Apple to disable Group FaceTime as the company works to resolve the issue.

SEE: Best Skype alternatives for video and voice calls

Group FaceTime, which lets you chat with more than 30 people via video or audio, is currently and temporarily unavailable, according to Apple's System Status page. You can still use FaceTime for one-to-one calls. But any attempts at a group call will fail to go through.

The reason behind the takedown? A major FaceTime bug was recently discovered, one in which a user can call someone and hear audio on the other end even before the call is answered. In the wrong hands, this bug could easily allow a person to use FaceTime to eavesdrop on other people without their knowing about it. CNET and other tech publications have been able to reproduce the problem.

Disabling Group FaceTime resolved the issue in CNET's testing, however, the Verge reported that some people are still able to reproduce the flaw. Either way, a more permanent resolution is required and due to arrive soon. In a statement sent to CNET on Monday, an Apple spokesperson said: "We're aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week."

Until Apple's fix rolls out, some people are suggesting that iOS and Mac users disable FaceTime calls completely. To do this on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings, select FaceTime, and then turn off the switch for FaceTime. On a Mac, open the FaceTime app. Select FaceTime and then select the command to Turn FaceTime Off.

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Takeaways

  1. Apple has temporarily taken down Group FaceTime in reaction to a security bug.
  2. The bug would allow another person to listen in on your audio through a FaceTime call even before the call is connected.

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Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."