It seems like every month a new way to crash iPhones comes to light, many of them involving random strings of characters. And that’s exactly what happened last night, when a new semi-dangerous string popped up on the interwebs and pranksters started crashing iOS devices left and right.
If you want to play a nasty prank on a friend with an iPhone and crash his or her device, all you need to do is send them a couple of emojis in a certain order. To be precise, those are the white flag emoji ?️, a zero and then a rainbow emoji ?. There’s also a hidden character in there, called a variation selector.
If this string of characters is sent via an iMessage, and the receiving device displays a toast notification, the device crashes almost instantly. There are also a number of variations on this technique, whereas sending a standard text message only crashes iOS devices version 10.1 or below, sending a contact card that contains the string will crash iOS 10.2 devices as well.
As far as malicious attacks go, this is a very mild case. Developers are positing that the device freezes because of that hidden character inside of the string, which tells the system to combine two emojis in one, though in this case that doesn’t work because of the zero character.
Affected devices will usually go through a reboot and then be fine, though some users claim they no longer have the chance to delete the malicious conversation in the iMessage app because the phone crashes immediately. As such, maybe you shouldn’t start sending prank text messages with emojis to all your friends just yet.
Apple hasn’t commented on the issue, but as usual with the company, it will likely silently fix the bug in an upcoming update.
Source: The Guardian