Text Bomb: The Surprisingly Simple Security Flaw in Apple’s iPhone
Apple have been having a bit of a hard time lately. For a company that was built largely on the premise of being all but impenetrable by the types of viruses and bugs that plague many Windows based machines and devices, the last few months have shown us an increase in genuine threats to our Apple gizmos, including the Spectre and Meltdown bugs. The latest flaw is being called the “Text Bomb”, and it’s alarmingly simple.
The iPhone bug has been brought to the public’s attention by software developer Abraham Masri, who posted his discovery on Twitter. Masri, like many developers, is a user of GitHub – a programming website used for sharing and working on applications, plugins, scripts and other code-based projects.
The Text Bomb causes an iPhone to crash, and in some cases restart. This crash is triggered by a text message which contains a link pointing to Masri’s code on GitHub. A user wouldn’t even have to click the link itself – simply receiving and opening the text message would be enough.
If used on a Mac, the code can force the Safari web browser to crash, and also cause other performance issues such a slow speeds.
No Real Threat
Masri has already removed the code from GitHub, effectively removing the threat, however Apple users needn’t worry. The “Text Bomb” bug isn’t able to do anything so sinister as steal our data – it merely forces a crash. Annoying, sure, but not overly threatening.
Apple are already fighting fires right now such as ongoing High Sierra problems, and of course the very public report on intentionally slowing down older iPhones, forcing customers into upgrades (they have since stated that this feature is in place to help preserve battery life, and will now be giving users the ability to switch this feature off).
Sure, this latest Text Bomb seems small-time compared to some of the other issues that have been bobbing their way to the surface recently, but it still adds to a growing pile.
As a self confirmed Apple fan-boy myself, let’s hope that they can reign things in a bit and reassure us all in the future with smarter security measures and increased user control.
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