TechCrunch has observed of a strong serious latest disorder affecting a large variety of Apple devices.
During their manufacturing work on an international news feed, software engineers at Aloha Browser found two Unicode symbols in a non-English language that can smash any Apple device that utilizes Apple’s default San Francisco font. The defect begins crashes on iPhones, Macs, iPads and even Watch OS devices that show text containing the symbol on their screens.
When one of the two symbols is displayed in an app, the software crashes instantly. In several cases, the app cannot be reopened and must be reinstalled. TechCrunch was able to recreate this behavior on two iPhones running an older version of iOS, one iPhone running iOS 11.2.5 and a MacBook Pro running High Sierra.
The defect smashes apps including Mail, Slack, Twitter, Messages, Facebook and Instagram. From our testing, it also crashed Jumpcut, a copy and paste plugin for Mac. While it first appeared that the Chrome browser for Mac was not affected and could securely show the symbol, it later smashed Chrome and the software would not reopen without smashing unless uninstalled and reinstalled.
TechCrunch has been in contact with Apple about the strong timeline for a software fix and will update this story accordingly. As per the team at Aloha Browser, Apple is alert of the defect and it may have been announced by another development team, as well. [Update: Apple has assured that there’ is a fix coming soon. Apparently this only affects present versions of the software, and this is already fixed in the betas of iOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS.]
This is Apple’s second text bomb headache of the year. In January, software researcher Abraham Masri found an iOS glitch that permitted a particular URL to crash any iPhone it was texted to, sometimes following in a kernel panic. In 2016, another bug could crash any iPhone or the Safari browser if a user clicked the URL for CrashSafari.com. In 2015, a so-called “Unicode of Death” could overburden an iPhone’s memory utilizing some Arabic characters. Now we are seeking a Unicode of Death 2.0.
Due to which so many apps are affected, the new text bomb could be utilized to generate mass chaos if spammed through an open social platform or utilized to aim individuals through email or messaging. The new bug affects a broad swath of Apple devices and crashes around any major app they run, making it specially destructive if not solved rapidly.
Featured Image: Bryce Durbin
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