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Joke message reboots iPhones - Updated

posted May 27, 2015, 12:03 PM by Craig Cox   [ updated Jun 1, 2015, 7:35 AM ]
Graham Cluley via the Mac Security Blog warns that iPhones can be crashed with a specific string of foreign language characters.

If you have a large number of fun-loving friends who keep crashing your phone, the work-around is to turn off text previews.  The messaging app can handle the characters, it's the notification preview that wrecks.  In the linked article above, Cluley credit researcher Mikko Hypponen with the discovery and the instructions for disabling your notifications:  "If your iPhone is getting bombarded with the new Unicode crash message, do this: Settings⇒Notifications⇒Messages⇒Show Previews⇒OFF"

Over the long term, keep an eye out for updates to your phone's software.  A number should appear in the corner of the icon for the app store -- this is the number of pending updates.  Please allow the updates to get applied.  This is a good general policy -- as of this writing, the fix hasn't been announced.

Update (June 1):  The toxic message is now being sent via instagram and twitter.  The message apparently only crashes the notification program, though, so if you disabled notifications as above, you should be OK until the fix is published.  (Anyone who learns differently, please contact me.)