Well, this one is spreading like wildfire.
The Guardian have been busy testing out the latest and probably greatest iPhone bug and have found themselves hamstrung in a whole load of new ways. Previously it was thought that لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗 Gate was confined to iMessage and SMS messages but, through extensive (erm, they tried it and it crashed) testing, it would that any iPhonian receiving the offending message via other popular methods will enjoy a similar result:
The booby-trapped message can be sent over Twitter, as highlighted to the Guardian by the security researcher Mikko Hypponen, either using direct messages or public mentions. If the recipient uses an iPhone and has notifications turned on, a message will instantly crash their smartphone. The message did not cause lasting damage in our testing.
Snapchat is also affected. When sent a text chat with the offending string, it permanently crashes the iPhone when the user attempts to read it.
The bug means that the user cannot open their chat history with the person who sent the message without crashing their iPhone.
The message cannot be cleared, but other messages can be sent to and received from other contacts.
Just a day or two ago, it was thought that the problem was confined to iPhones. Not so according to The Guardian again!
The bug that causes iPhones to crash when they receive a boobytrapped text message also affects the Apple Watch, iPads and Macs.
The crash is caused by a bug within a core system common to all of Apple’s devices that handles text. When presented with non-Latin characters in a specific sequence – including those from Arabic, Chinese and Marathi – the CoreText system chokes, causing it to fail and bring the entire operating system to a halt.
Apple told the Guardian that it is aware of the bug and will issue a software update to fix it. How long that update will take is unknown: 24 hours after the bug was revealed, it has not been fixed.
The bug, which was originally identified causing crashes on iPhones, has now been shown to also affect the Apple Watch, causing it to crash when attempting to reply to the offending message via voice using Siri.
The text message has also caused iPads to crash, and reportedly can affect Mac laptops and desktops too.
“As the issue also affects OS X applications, a malicious party could set the triggering text as a server message of the day or welcome message, causing a user’s terminal to crash when authenticating to network services,” Mathew Hickey, principal security consultant at MDSec told Forbes.
While most people are using the message as a prank to crash friends’ iPhones, experts have not ruled out that the text string could be used for more malicious attacks, with potentially damaging consequences.
So, it would seem that ANY Apple product is vulnerable to this failing in the software.
Handily (and weirdly) The Guardian felt it important to include the message in the body of both articles. This, in a way, is good as it meant that since they did it it made me feel ok publicising it.
لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗
But that’s not all.
A quick trip to iMore revealed that iPhonians, upon hearing the news had the time of their lives pranking each other with the message, only to find that they had effectively bricked each other’s phones.
How stupid do you have to be.
Meanwhile, as is obvious in the comments to The Guardian articles, Androidians are having the time of their lives pointing and laughing at vulnerabilities in iOS – this from the most vulnerable platform of the (Laga)lot.
Oh, the irony.
The answer to all this kerfuffle is, of course, as simple as it’s ever been.
Don’t sit around waiting for yet another flawed Apple updated that fixes this but switches off your wifi/cellular signal/phone.
Get a grip my friends.
Ditch the iCrap.
Buy a BlackBerry.