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Prank with Rainbow Emoji Messages Crashes iPhones

Prank with Rainbow Emoji Messages Crashes iPhones
Jokers are sending messages stuffed with emojis which cause recipients’ iPhones or iPads to freeze by exploiting a bug in iOS.
Aimed at crashing iPhones and iPads using the power of simple text, flag and rainbow emojis, a bug in iOS  is being exploited in a prank.
There are two variants of the bug. A rainbow, a hidden character called a variation selector, a zero and a waving white flag emoji are included in one. This can be copied into an iMessage conversation and sent to anyone. embedded within a contacts file, which can be shared via iCloud Drive to an iMessage contact but with the same string of characters is the other.
Although the text string sent via a standard iMessage only appears to affect iPhones and iPads with iOS 10.1 or below, both will crash an iPhone or iPad to varying degrees. Including the latest iOS 10.2, the boobytrapped contact card affects all versions of iOS 10.
The bug was originally reported by YouTuber EverythingApplePro, which has a history of reporting on iPhone crash pranks.
The issue is caused by Apple’s handling of the variation selector and the emojis beside it, suggested French iOS developer Vincent Desmurs, who claims to have discovered the bug. “What variation selector 16 (VS16) does in this case essentially is tell the device to combine the two surrounding characters into one emoji, yielding the rainbow flag,” he said.
“The text you’re copying is actually a waving white flag, VS16, zero, rainbow emoji. What I’m assuming is happening is that the phone tries to combine the waving white flag and the zero into an emoji, but this obviously can’t be done.”
Either resulting in a full lock up requiring a reboot, or a partial lockup that triggers a quick reboot, users sent either the emojis via iMessage or the contact card see their iPhone or iPad crash after a short period of time. If sent through the desktop Messages app, it is quite difficult to avoid crashing the sender’s smartphone or even Mac computer by using the contact card and this is the irony of the prank this time.
To avoid repeated crashes on opening the messages, users will need to delete their iMessage conversation with whichever prankster sent them the boobytrapped emoji. without being able to delete the conversation, reports of their iPhones repeatedly locking up have been made by some users. Creating one with Siri before opening Messages to clear the block or being sent a new message have been reported by some.
Used to prank iPhone and iPad users are abnormal strings of text or videos causing crashes as Apple’s iOS has a history of abnormal strings. This results in the devices getting crashed and in some cases preventing them from re-opening certain apps without clearing the prank messages.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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