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iPhone Users Beware: New SMS Flaw Can Crash Messages app on all iOS Versions

Posted on December 31, 2016

An issue relating to text message attachments is currently causing severe issues for iPhones across all iOS 10 versions, as well as previous releases. Unlike the infamous 2015 Unicode exploit, in which the body of a message caused a system crash, this new problem creates severe instability in the iPhone’s Messages app. After an initial crash, created by opening a malicious attachment, Messages is unable to recover and restart, even after a hard reboot of the iPhone.

At the root of the flaw is an extremely large phone contacts file. Users are currently receiving this file as an SMS attachment.  When they attempt to open the attachment Messages becomes non-responsive. ;users can only close the app through the multitasking feature. Any attempts to re-open Messages lead the app to continually fail and return the user to the Home screen.

This vulnerability affects all current and previous versions of iOS., Some users also report the issue is being seen in the current iOS 10.2.1 beta builds. Until Apple issues a fix for this vulnerability, we urge users to exercise caution and good judgment when receiving and viewing text message attachments. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know or weren’t expecting, and beware of very large files.

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