A recently discovered bug in iOS Messages crashes the app, and even restarting the phone does not help. The vulnerability found by software developer Vincedes3 is transferred through a vCard — a transferable address book contact.
Vincedes3 further notes that the malicious link found in the bug-laden vCard comprises of 14,281 lines, unlike a standard vCard which includes just 200-300 lines of coding. Therefore, when the iOS Messages app opens the vCard, the app freezes with a white screen, and even restarting the device doesn’t come to the rescue as the Messages tires to open the same message again and again. The cycle keeps on repeating itself and the device crashes.
How to fix the problem
Thankfully, Vincedes3 suggests there are two solutions. The first involves opening a link in Safari when your Message app crashes. The link comes to the rescue by sending a message that detects and removes the bug-laden message.
Once normal functionality is restored, affected users receive a message that reads, “I have just saved your iPhone bro ;)” in the iOS Message app.
The second being to send a message to yourself and open it via Siri, which allows you to get back the Messages app and delete the malicious message.
Vincdes3 further said that the vulnerability affects any device running iOS 8 and above. Users are advised to refrain from opening any vCards until a fix is in place. Given the odd nature of this bug, Apple is soon expected to roll out a fix in a future update.
Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve come across exploits and vulnerabilities in iOS, which is usually considered to be secure. Just last month, numerous reports of a malicious 3-second video crashing iOS devices surfaced on the web. The video caused iOS devices to freeze, requiring users to perform a hard reset. The bug was found in an MP4 video, which if played in the Safari browser on any iOS-powered device, slowed it down and ultimately crashed the device. A hard reset was required in most cases.