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iPhone text crash bug hits Twitter and Snapchat

Apple’s text messaging bug that can crash iPhones with simple text also affects Twitter and permanently breaks Snapchat text chat.

The bug, which causes Apple’s text handling system to choke on certain characters from Arabic, Marathi and Chinese and crashes the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac, also affects apps running on iOS.

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.

Apple issued recovery instructions for its Messages app, which involves using Siri to reply to a message allowing users to then delete that conversation. A similar recovery method can use the Photos app to send a picture to a contact and gain access to the message history so it can be deleted.

The company said that a fix for the bug via a software update will be provided, but is yet to do so.

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While no reports of hackers maliciously exploiting the text bug have surfaced yet, many users have been sending the text string to friends, family and strangers attempting to crash their iPhones.

Apple Attack
Beware of this text string being sent to Snapchat, via Twitter or many other apps on an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac. Photograph: Alex Hern for the Guardian

Those wanting to protect themselves from the text of death can disable notifications, but that will not prevent Snapchat and other third-party apps from being disabled.

Read more:https://www.theguardian.com

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