As posted on This simple text message can paralyze your iPhone — but a fix is coming
A newly discovered iOS bug lets an attacker construct a simple text message which, when sent to an iPhone, immediately freezes and possibly restarts it.
Software developer Abraham Masri has identified the bug and christened it chaiOS (which we must admit is a pretty awesome name). Masri told BuzzFeed, who first wrote about the bug, that he found it while “fuzzing with the operating system.”
The attack is quite nasty: According to Twitter user @aaronp613 who tested it out on an iPhone 5S and an iPhone X, not only does it render an iPhone unusable for a few minutes, but the recipient’s Message app will stop loading messages and will keep crashing. It affects iOS versions 10 to 11.2.5 beta 5, but it hasn’t been tested on the latest iOS beta, 11.2.5 beta 6. And Masri claims the same bug can also affects Macs.
On the other hand, some users say the text message did nothing to their iPhones.
Note that the link Masri originally used (as seen in the above tweet) no longer works, and Masri said he will not upload it, so we haven’t been able to independently verify Masri’s results. However, now that the vulnerability is out, it’s a matter of time before someone else figures out how to exploit it.
We’ve contacted Apple for comment on this issue and will update the article when we hear back from them.
This is just one of many simple text message based bugs that can wreak havoc on an iPhone. In Jan. 2017, it was discovered that a combination of three emoji can crash and freeze an iPhone. In Nov. 2016, it was a short video file that crashed iPhones, and in Mar. 2016 a simple link would crash iOS devices when tapped on in Safari. All these issues were subsequently fixed with software updates.