iPhone 'power' bug: iPads, Macs and Apple Watches also at risk of crashing

The problem hits the way that Apple’s devices deal with notifications, and so has hit its computers and tablets as well as the iPhone

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The Independent Tech

A bug that allows people to crash any iPhone by sending a specific string of letters could also crash Apple’s computers and wearables.

The problem could mean that malicious people could bring whole companies’ computers to a halt by sending out the message, security experts have warned. The short string of text overloads the way that Apple’s computers deal with notifications, meaning that all of the company’s products are affected.

That means that iPads, Apple Watches and all Macs — such as MacBooks and iMacs — could be hit by the bug.

On the Apple Watch, users have to reply to the message via dictation for it to happen — it is not enough simply to receive the notification, as it is on the iPhone. And on the Mac laptops and desktops, only a few rarely-used applications so far appear to have trouble. The problem is thought to hit iPads in the same way as it does on a phone, since it can receive iMessages just like an iPhone.

So far, the attack has mostly been used to prank people and shut down their phones. But the widespread nature of the attack and the lack of fix could mean that it is exploited by more malicious people, experts have warned.

Whole businesses could be knocked offline if the problem phrase was sent by hackers through a hijacked server, Mathew Hickey, principal security consultant at MDSec, told FORBES.

Apple has said that it is aware of the problem and is working on a fix. Until then, users are advised to shut off notifications or filter out those from unknown senders.

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