Hackers could use a bug in iPhones to shut them down without being able to bring them back.
iPhones that have their date set to 1 January, 1970 and then get rebooted become bricked and cannot be revived, it was reported last week. And while the issue was thought only to occur when people intentionally change the date, it could happen during an attack by hackers.
All iPhones are able to set the time by connecting to a server and receiving information about what they are showing.
Usually that feature is used to make sure that the phones are on time and in the right timezone, allowing them to automatically change. But hackers exploiting that server could do so to make the phone set its date back to 1970, and brick the phone.
The attack could be launched on anyone on an unsecure Wi-Fi network, or by anyone with access to the phone.=
To avoid such an attack, users should turn off the setting to have the time automatically update. That can be done from Settings, after choosing the Date and Time option.
Apple has said that it is aware of the problem and will release an update to fix it soon.
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