Apple iPhone users should be on the alert about an operating system bug that could crash their phones.
The glitch could allow a person to crash your iPhone by sending a simple text message comprised of a string of foreign characters.
The malicious non-English text will crash the Message App, sometimes causing the device of the recipient to reboot.
Victims who are deliberately being targeted are venting their frustration with the cyber mischief makers, by taking their complaints online to social media sites.
The Evening Standard reports:
The string of characters is so obscure it would be virtually impossible for someone to type it out by mistake.
Someone sent me that stupid message that turns your iPhone off and it messed up my phone so I can’t get in my messages. Someone help please
— logan flitcraft (@loganflitcraft) May 27, 2015
The problem appears to be caused by the way Apple’s iOS operating system displays certain characters, according to reports.
Mark James, security specialist at anti-virus firm ESET said: “I am sure we have all had our desktop machines reboot after a seemingly random event has triggered the dreaded reboot. These mobile computers we call phones today have the same core instructions – if all else fails then reboot.
“This does not necessarily mean it’s a security flaw or indeed an exploitable bug but Apple will none the less try and rectify this as soon as they possibly can.”
However, Tim Erkin, director of product management at cyber security firm Tripwire, said: “The ability to remotely disable someone’s iPhone could be useful in targeted attacks. Imagine if an organisation’s information security team was suddenly unable to communicate while an attack on their organisation was being carried out.”
Many have reported that by turning off notification banners they have been able to avoid being affected by the bug, and that sending a photo to the contact who sent you the message, then clearing the conversation history, will remove the flaw.
Apple did not comment when approached by the Evening Standard.
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