Warning over WhatsApp ‘text bomb’ that could crash your phone: Malicious message causes iPhone and Android handsets to freeze
- The glitch overloads smartphones with tens of thousands of hidden characters
- This forces users who received the message to reset their iOS or Android device
- The message itself is also being shared on the Pastebin code repository
- WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement but is likely to issue a software patch
WhatsApp users are being warned about a new text bomb that can cause their handsets to freeze.
The message works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing some affected users to reset their devices.
Reports suggest it is more serious than the Telugu bug which emerged in February, crashing only Apple devices through messaging apps like WhatsApp.
This new glitch affects both iOS or Android devices, according to claims on social media site Reddit.
WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement, but the Facebook-owned firm is likely to issue a software patch fixing the problem in the near future.
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WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The code in question is hidden just after the emoji in a message that reads: ‘This is very interesting (emoji)…Read more’
The bug is hidden in a specially crafted message according to Neowin, who first reported it after spotting the claims being made on Reddit.
The message itself, including its malicious hidden text, is also being shared on the Pastebin code repository.
It reads: ‘This is very interesting (emoji)…Read more.’
The code in question is hidden just after the emoji and tapping on ‘read more’ causes Whatsapp to expand this part of the message, prompting the freeze. This brings with it a warning message that says that the app is not responding.
It can also cause the entire operating system to crash, requiring a reboot – although it does not seem to do any permanent damage.
‘Not only is WhatsApp crashing, my whole system process gets stuck, and I need to restart my phone,’ said the Reddit user who spotted the bug.
Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’.
Clicking on a black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically.
The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their iOS or Android device. The message itself, including its malicious hidden text, is also being shared on the Pastebin code repository
WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement, but the Facebook owned firm is likely to issue an update fixing the problem in the near future. This is not the first time that a devastating ‘text bomb’ that crashes devices through messaging apps has been uncovered by researchers
This is not the first time that a devastating ‘text bomb’ that crashes devices has been uncovered by researchers.
In February, a bug was discovered that sends Apple iPhones, iPads and Macs into a frenzy thanks to a single character from a language used in India.
Opening a message containing the Telugu language character is enough to crash iOS Springboard, the system app which manages the device’s home screen.
Apple gadgets running iOS 11.2.5 or macOS, are susceptible to the bug, which disables access to iMessages.
Other popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook for iOS, and Gmail, are also cut off.
The character is from a Dravidian language spoken in India by about 70 million people, roughly five per cent of the country’s population.
As apps try and fail to load the character, users can get trapped in an endless loop of crashes.
The only way to escape this cycle is to get someone else to message you and delete the thread containing the malicious message.
Software updates are believed to have since fixed the problem, so iOS users are advised to ensure their operating systems are up to date.
The character of the Telugu language, a Dravidian language spoken in India by about 70 million people, roughly five per cent of the country’s population. As apps try and fail to load the character, users can get trapped in an endless loop of crashes
WHAT TEXT BOMBS HAVE HIT APPLE?
Apple’s products have been plagued by so-called text bombs, which can crash and freeze devices through malicious messages.
The ChaiOS hack, revealed in January 2018, causes devices to crash and can delete all your messages, affects any device running iOS and Mac OS.
The flaw was discovered by software developer Abraham Masri, based in Chicago, who shared a link which can be used to crash Apple’s Message app on social media.
It does so through massively long strings of text information, which overloads the system.
Both ChaiOS and a bug discovered in February 2018 involving an Indian language character are similar to another called Effective Power.
This was first reported in May 2015.
Malicious messages containing the word ‘Power’ as well as Arabic and Marathi characters and the Chinese character meaning ‘redundant’, were sent out.
They also crashed the Messages app, and if an iOS user received the text while their handset was locked the bug would force their phone to reboot.
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