27 May Hack Brief: There’s a New iPhone Text Message Attack
You can crash an iPhone merely by texting it the exact right string of English and Arabic characters .
Anyone can pull the hack off if they know the right combination of characters. It was uncovered by users on Reddit. Anyone with an iPhone is a potential target, until Apple fixes underlying iOS code. It’s only use right now is as a prank, so people pulling it off are doing so for the lulz.
How Much Does It Matter?
Not as much as it sounds. The only thing the attack text can do is crash the phone, meaning the phone will turn off and have to be rebooted. This does not corrupt data or implant malware. It is annoying, but not permanently destructive. Security researcher Charlie Miller agrees, telling WIRED that “it is just an annoyance and can’t be used to do anything dangerous like steal personal information.” However, Miller hasn’t had a chance yet to investigate the hack in detail. The only potentially worrisome possibility is that the mechanism of the text attack could evolve into something more nefarious.
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