Everyone who uses an Apple device should be on the lookout for a new threat that can crash/reboot your device.  Users of Apple’s desktop and mobile operating systems are experiencing crashing computers, phones, and tablets across the internet.  This is caused by a bug in Apple’s rendering engine of Arabic text when a message gets shortened.

The text that will cause this can be seen in the image below:

iMessage_string

By the time you’ve received the malicious text, it’s probably too late.

The text, which has no meaning, exploits a problem with Apple’s Core Text rendering engine, which is the part of it’s operating system software. To fix the bug users will have to update their operating systems once Apple issues a fix.

While the vulnerability has limits as a destructive tool on its own, it is a similar kind of vulnerability that the Syrian Electronic Army has been undertaking lately and it could cause serious inconvenience.

Solutions:

  • Send yourself a message via Siri or from your Mac
  • Have the person who sent you the malicious message send another message effectively canceling out the initial strand
  • Send a photo to the contact via the Photos app which can allow you to access the message history and delete the conversation

In the meantime to protect against this attack you can go into Setting/Notifications/Messages and scroll down to Disable Message Previews and also select Show Alerts from My Contacts rather than from everyone.