Found a “text bomb” that cripples the iPhone

By | May 22, 2020
Found a “text bomb” that cripples the iPhone

Users of social networks reported about “text bomb” capable of disabling any iPhone or iPad — it is necessary to send the recipient a set of characters after which the device hangs. It is known that this reaction causes the text in the language of the Sindhi in Pakistan and India. The iPhone and iPad discovered a bug that allows an attacker to disable the gadget by sending him a “text bomb”, according to the portal 9to5Mac.

A text bomb is called a set of symbols, causing interruptions in the operation of electronic devices — often used by trolls and the media to be an inconvenience to the recipient.

At this time we are talking about the text written in Sindhi in Pakistan and India.

It is reported that for the first time this “bomb” appeared in the vastness of the messenger Telegram, and then migrated to Twitter. Initially, the threat was distributed together with the Emoji Italian flag, but later it turned out that this image is optional, to text bomb worked — the problem lies in the words written in Sindhi. Once the user receives a notification message with such characters, the “Apple” of the device begins to run slowly or even hangs.

It is known that the bug is triggered on the iPhone with the latest iOS version 13.4.1, and the beta version of iOS 13.4.5 it is already fixed. As soon as the beta becomes available to a wider circle of users, users with updated OS will be protected from such attacks.


The good news is that the new text bomb does not cause any harm to the device — in the worst case it will have to reboot, which can result in loss of unsaved data.

The only thing that causes a new bug, it’s the fact of the attack which cannot be prevented only by completely disabling system notifications and social networks, which is not always convenient for the user.

Text bombs are nothing new and have existed for a long time. So, in 2018 in iOS 11 was discovered a similar bug when sending a certain character from the Telugu language of the smartphone the recipient has hung and refused to open a new message. The received symbol block not only built-in app for iPhone messages, but also WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook for iOS and Gmail.

To solve this problem was therefore to ask someone to send a new message, then open it and try to remove the chat from the ill-fated character. Later Apple released a patch to fix this error. Last year, two experts from Project Zero, Google’s dedicated bug search team, Natalie Silvanovich, and Samuel Gros, published a study on iPhone vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.

Vulnerabilities reported by Silvanovich and Gros related to sending messages, voice, and email, but the largest number of complaints were made by the iMessage service.

For example, one of the vulnerabilities allowed the hacker to send a pre-prepared message, which tricked the iMessage server into sending the contents of the correspondence of the selected victim to the attacker. However, the user did not have a chance to find out that he was the victim of a hacker attack. In addition, he did not even need to open iMessage for the hack to work.

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