Text bomb causes iPhones to crash

Apple fixes ChaiOS text bomb that makes iPhones crash

Apple has released a fix for the ChaiOS text bomb security flaw that makes iPhones crash as soon as a device receives a string of code.

On Tuesday the tech giant updated iOS to patch the “text bomb” which causes iPhones to crash and delete all messages on the phone.

ChaiOS was first discovered not by an Apple employee, but by software developer Abraham Masri, who goes by the Twitter handle @cheesecakeufo.

He shared a link to software site Github that, when texted to someone’s iPhone, stopped the phone from working properly.

The code works by overloading an Apple device with information, causing it to crash. And perhaps most worryingly, the bug seems to work even if users don’t click on the link itself. Apparently, just receiving the message is enough to force iPhones to malfunction.

Such attacks are commonly known as text bombs, and they have proved a recurrent problem for Apple over the years.

In a tweet dated 15 January 2017, he posted a reference to Effective Power, a bug that caused a great deal of trouble for iPhone users back in 2015.

Consisting of a chain of Arabic text, the bug was sent via text message and had the unfortunate effect of causing the recipient’s iPhone to crash and freeze.

On Twitter Masri noted how he had discovered the ChaiOS text bomb bug.

It took several days for Apple to recognise the ChaiOS bug and Masri says he never got a direct response from the company.

As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous in our lives, it can be easy to start believing that our devices are secure, infallible and almost impossible to crack.

However, once in a while an enterprising individual comes along to turn all of that on its head.

Lucky for iPhone and iPad users, Masri is not a nefarious hacker bent on stealing personal information.

In fact, the worst thing that the ChaiOS bug appears to be able do is to force your phone to crash or return to its lock screen – it can’t steal your data or allow anyone to look through your files.

Masri claims that he created the bug in order to make a point.

The day after the first tweet, he deleted the code, claiming that he had only released it in order to get Apple to think more seriously about their security.


Suzi Marsh is a freelance writer and blogger based in South West England.
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