“A strange but simple bug in an essential part of Apple’s desktop and mobile operating systems is crashing computers, phones, and tablets across the internet, as Windows and Firefox users, both immune, repost it for kicks,” John Herrman reports for BuzzFeed. “It’s shown up on Reddit, 4Chan, YouTube, and Twitter, where it caused temporary chaos, and has already been banned from Facebook. More damaging, and mostly invisible, is its potential spread via text, sending this string in iMessage in iOS 6 causes a crash that can leave phones severely disabled, and, for most users, prompt a trip to the genius bar.”

A “string of Arabic characters, which has no meaning, exploits a problem with Apple’s Core Text rendering engine, which is the part of its operating system software that draws, smooths, and lays out text.” Herrman reports. “To fix the bug users will have to update their operating systems, either in a small increment or to iOS 7 or the next version of OS X, Mavericks, neither of which have been released to the public but both of which are protected from the problem… For now, the best recourse for Mac users is to install Firefox and keep an eye out for incoming system updates.”

This random string of Arabic characters can crash Apple's Core Text rendering engine

This random string of Arabic characters can crash Apple’s Core Text rendering engine

 

MacDailyNews Note: In fact, an even shorter string of just the first few of the Arabic characters shown above can crash Safari 6.1 (as tested in OS X 10.8.4).

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Unicode of Death.