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Apple fixed a serious 911 flaw in latest iOS release

by Brandon Russell | March 31, 2017March 31, 2017 12:00 pm PST

Apple this week released a new iOS software update that introduces a number of changes, big and small, including a handy Find My AirPods feature for owners of Apple’s wireless headphones. Turns out, the update also fixes a nefarious bug that made it easy to flood 911 call centers with nonstop robocalls.

Last year, an 18-year-old found a way to trick iOS devices into flooding call centers until calls could no longer get through. This reportedly happened across multiple states, making it difficult for residents to talk to dispatchers in an actual emergency. You can see why this would be a problem.

Even if the young man who exploited the flaw thought it was a harmless prank, authorities did not. He was arrested last year on three counts of felony computer tampering. The exploit involved Twitter users clicking on a specific link, which then made devices repeatedly dial 911.

Don’t prank call 911

The Wall Street Journal says Apple worked closely with app developers to fix the vulnerability. “This update will now prevent [the exploit] from happening even on apps that hadn’t already fixed the issue,” the WSJ wrote.

Now, once users tap on a phone number, iOS users are prompted to confirm they’re trying to make a call. Before, users simply had to tap on a phone number and before their device would make a call.

WSJ CultofMac

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...