An iPhone bug that allows you to crash other people’s iPhones by sending them a specific text message has wreaked havoc. While most people are using it as a prank to crash their friends’ iPhones, security experts say that it could also be used for malicious attacks that can have more damaging consequences.
iPhone bug also affects third-party apps
As if that was not enough, the same iPhone bug causes your iPad, Mac and Apple Watch as well to crash, according to a Reddit thread. The bug is within the core system of all Apple devices that handle text messages. It causes your device to crash and restart when you receive a special string of symbols and Arabic characters via iMessage, and the Messages app fails to open.
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Some Reddit users tested whether the iPhone bug has the same effect when the message is sent from third-party apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram, it caused even those apps to crash. The bug only works if you send it to someone who has an Apple device. It does not work if you or the recipient has an Android or Windows smartphone.
The crash happens because the CoreText system chokes when presented with non-Latin characters in a specific sequence, bringing the operating system to a halt. The bug causes your Apple Watch to crash when you try to reply to the message using Siri. It has also caused iPads to crash. According to the Guardian, it also affects Mac laptops and desktops.
Apple working to fix the issue
Mathew Hickey, a security consultant at MDSec, told Forbes that the bug affects OS X applications. So, someone could set this text as a server message or welcome message, which may cause your terminal to crash when authenticating to network services.
In an email to The Wall Street Journal, Apple acknowledged that it was aware of the issue. The tech giant was working to make a fix available in a software update. However, it is still unclear how long it will take.