iOS users face a new cyber threat. iPhones, iPad or iPod running on iOS version 10 to 10.2.1 can be frozen and crashed by sending a simple text message consisting of three emojis – a white flag (a VS16 character), the numeral zero and a rainbow flag.
The text message causes the iPhone to freeze and restart after a period of three minutes or more. After the restart, the phone will function normally. Users can avail a forced reboot but that is time consuming. This bug is more of a minor prank than a major concern.
How Does It Work?
The VS16 character attempts to combine itself with its adjacent character and result in the third character. Since the next character is zero, the device tries to add the VS16 character and zero, in an attempt to produce the rainbow flag emoji. It is unsuccessful and therefore causes the device to crash and freeze.
How Can It Be Spread?
Panicked iPhone users can take heart in the fact that this text message takes a bit of time to be sent to others. There are two ways to send this bug across. The first one requires a computer setup and works on the version 10-10.1.
The second way was invented by Youtuber EverythingApplePro and this works on each version, from iOS 10 to the 10.2.1 beta. This takes a substantial amount of extra time than the previous method.
Prevention And Cure
There is no way of preventing your phone from being affected by the bug other than blocking suspected pranksters. There is no way to eliminate the bug than to force a reboot. There have been instances where the Messaging app remains unresponsive even after a reboot. There is an easy way to get it going again. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Launch the browser, Safari on your device and go to the address vincedes3.com/save.html.
Step 2: Click on the ‘Open’ tab that comes into the Messages app.
Step 3: Exit the newly created thread that it creates and delete any previous threads which caused a crash.
This bug is a perfect weapon for sadists all around the world, as there can be nothing more exasperating than having your phone crash suddenly while you are working on something important. The video shot by EverythingApplePro, details both the ways of infecting someone’s iPhone with a bug.
Every text message must now be treated with caution, as this latest malicious text bug is sure to spread like wildfire. What is scarier, is the fact that there is no preventive measure that we can take to secure our iPhones against this bug.
Check out the video below to know more about the malicious text.
Photo: Karlis Dambrans | Flickr
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