“A three character-long text message can temporarily disable iPhones, a hacker has shown,” James Titcomb reports for The Telegraph.

“On receiving the message, iPhones instantly freeze for around a minute, and sometimes users are forced to restart. Besides blocking the number that the malicious messages come from the victim has no way of preventing the attack, although its effects are temporary and do not work on the most recent version of iOS,” Titcomb reports. “The bug is the latest in a series of strange text-message vulnerabilities that have affected iPhones in recent years.”

“The offending message appears to contain just three characters – a white flag emoji, a ‘0’” and a rainbow emoji,” Titcomb reports. “When a text with the three characters is received, an iPhone will become temporarily unusable, with the touchscreen and physical buttons not functioning. The fault appears to be in the convoluted way that iOS creates the rainbow flag emoji. Because the flag is not an official emoji, Apple creates it by combining the code behind the two white flag and rainbow emoji. The two are joined together by a hidden character known as a VS16. With the troublesome three-character text, the VS16 is there, forcing the iPhone into trying to combine the two emoji, but is unable to because of the zero in the middle.”

Read more in the full article here.

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