The bug that causes an iPhone to collapse when it accepts a text message with a specific string of characters also affects other Apple products, such as iMacs, MacBooks, iPads and Apple Watches.
A glitch within the central system common to all of Apple's iOS products that manages text messages causes the crash. When introduced with non-Latin special characters in a particular sequence, which includes Marathi, Arabic, and Chinese, the CoreText system chokes, pushing it to break down and terminate the whole operating system.
Apple had informed several media outlets that the company is aware of the iMessage glitch and expect a software update would be released to fix the bug.
However, the company has not made any announcement yet after 24 hours of the bug's detection and Apple did not specify a timeframe for the update to be released.
The 'effective power' bug, which was initially recognized as the root cause of crashes on iPhones, has recently been discovered to also make impact on the Apple Watch, forcing it to freeze when the device attempts to reply to the disturbing message through voice by means of the Siri software.
The text notification has also pushed iPads to break down, since it can receive iMessages just like an iPhone, and based on latest reports, it could affect Mac desktops and laptops too.
So far, the glitch through a few rarely used applications could be a cause of problem for Mac users. Experts have already tested sending the string via iMessages, but it did not prompt the operating system to end. However, people utilizing the Terminal app to access resources over the Internet should be careful that it could be impacted if left unprotected to the text string.
Those willing to protect their Apple devices from these assaults can put off the notification system and stop iMessages or SMS being sent to their Apple Watch until the company rolled out the update. One could also filter out those messages from unknown senders for the meantime.
While some people are just using the text message as a trick to shut down colleagues' iPhones, experts have not eliminated the possibility that the text string could be utilized by hackers for malicious attacks, with probably harmful consequences, especially to businesses relying heavily on Apple devices.
"An attacker can leverage this issue to cause immediate denial of service issues on affected platforms and applications, however further impact is not yet known and will require further research," Mathew Hickey, MDSec principal security consultant, informed Forbes over email.