Beware! A new bug can crash iOS and macOS with a single text message

Resist the temptation to send this text bomb to anyone.

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Beware! A new bug can crash iOS and macOS with a single text message

Be careful what you click on.

Abraham Masri, a Twitter user with the rather wonderful handle of @cheesecakeufo, has shared publicly a malicious link that is capable of crashing iOS and macOS when received through Apple’s Messages app.

The link, which I’m only going to reproduce here as an image, points to a GitHub page.

Sign up to our free newsletter.
Security news, advice, and tips.

Chaios tweet

Clicking on the link can cause your Messages application to crash on iOS and Mac devices, and you may find other peculiar behaviour occurs such as being returned to your lock screen.

It turns out that there’s some pretty funky-looking code on that webpage.

Webpage code

Something about the so-called ChaiOS bug’s code gives your Apple device a brainstorm. Ashamed about the mess it gets itself in, Messages decides the least embarrassing thing to do is to crash.

Nasty. But, thankfully, more of a nuisance than something that will lead to data being stolen from your computer or a malicious hacker being able to access your files.

Readers with long memories will recall that Apple users have been bedevilled by text bomb vulnerabilities like this in the past.

For instance, in 2013 it was found that Macs and iPhones could be crashed by a simple string of Arabic characters, and in 2015 an attack dubbed “Effective Power” saw a sequence of characters allow mischief-makers to remotely reboot iPhones.

Don’t be surprised if Apple rolls out a security update in the near future to fix this latest example of a text bomb. And please please don’t be tempted to try the text bomb attack out on anyone else – you’re not being funny, you’re just being a jerk.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

4 comments on “Beware! A new bug can crash iOS and macOS with a single text message”

  1. lol

    any known fix for macOS?

  2. MattLeH

    Even if it is just a crashed device… the recipient is going to know who sent it…. so you wouldn't be popular if you did….

    ….at least my Windows 10 Phone isn't effected (dying breath……)

    1. coyote · in reply to MattLeH

      It's also possible that the crash takes over before they can see. That can happen in software (whether it would happen here or not I don't know nor do I really care).

  3. coyote

    Your last sentence is much too kind. It's much more than being a jerk. Of course you could try it on yourself… it's sort of tempting but I don't think I will. Unfortunately many would be more than happy to send this type of thing to people whether it's revenge or just trying to be funny. But that's simply mankind at play and nothing will change that fact I fear.

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.