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Kids Can Bypass Communication Limit Feature On iOS 13.3

By January 11, 2020May 9th, 2022Technology News

If you have children that own Apple devices, be aware that the latest update for iOS 13.3 included a feature called Communications Limits.

It is designed to allow parents to set up parental controls to keep their kids from speaking to, texting with, or Facetiming with anyone who’s not already in their contacts list.

It’s a small but important feature addition. Hackers, scammers, bullies, or strangers can easily get phone numbers belonging to children. Even worse, they can then harass or threaten them in a variety of ways.

Unfortunately, there were problems with the implementation of the feature. For one thing, a bug in the code allowed kids to add a new number to the address book contacts list and use that as a springboard for bypassing the restrictions imposed by the software.

The bug was discovered by staffers at CNBC who were able to show that the feature worked fine on devices backed by iCloud, but not other services like Google’s Gmail.

Todd Haselton of CNBC had this to say about the discovery:

“A child should not be able to add the contact to the iPhone’s address book without their parent entering their PIN first if the feature is working properly.”

That’s a succinct description of both the problem and its solution. Right now, Apple is scrambling to generate a fix. Although the company hasn’t said as much, there’s a very good chance that by the next patching cycle, the company will have a fix in hand.

If you were counting on the feature, one thing you can do until the fix is ready is to make use of the Downtime feature. That allows users to restrict access to apps according to a predefined schedule. It’s not perfect, but it will get the job done in the short term.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.