Another month another exploit. This one can ruin your day pretty quick and, sadly, anyone can use it to pretty much shut down someone’s iMessages. The affected iPhone may not even be fixed until it’s completely reset (unless you follow the link below.) Yikes!
Gizmodo said the flaw was first noticed by a hacker named vincedes3. It’s relatively simple in its execution and, as with most exploits, basically sends the computer (in this case an iPhone) into a spiral of confusion until it shuts down.
For devices (including iPad) where the fix link does not work, ask Siri to send a message to the victim and click on the text. pic.twitter.com/3id4Y8Lhkn
— vincedes3 (@vincedes3) December 29, 2016
In this case, all it takes is a vCard — the contact cards you can share with folks — that’s chock full of code, 14,381 lines according to Gizmodo. When it’s received, an iPhone (or apparently some Android devices) tries to scan it, gets all boggled at the size of it, and crashes. Then it keeps crashing every time you try to open up iMessage, since it’s trying again and again to load this vCard data that’s loaded with text. You can avoid the issue by not opening any vCards.
There’s a fix for this iMessage flaw
It seems to me, and I’m probably wrong because I’m not much of a hacker, that this could be fixed by limiting the number of lines that can be entered into a vCard. Perhaps we’ll see Apple fix that in an upcoming iOS release. If you’re affected in the meantime, Gizmodo said you can click this link to fix the issue without resetting your phone.