iPhone users are highly vulnerable to a major security issue right now, according to experts. So if you own one (even if it is an older model), you have to be cautious.
According to a report by Forbes, a major flaw involving the WiFi connectivity of an iPhone has been identified, which could leave millions upon millions of iPhone users in danger of having their personal data exploited. Furthermore, if the security issue isn’t resolved at once, the phone can no longer connect to WiFi. And that would be permanent.
The aforementioned flaw was spotted when an engineer named Carl Shou tried connecting to a network with the SSID %p%s%s%s%s%n. His device simply refused to connect and subsequently went into a loop. According to Shou, even rebooting or changing the SSID didn’t fix anything:
After joining my personal WiFi with the SSID “%p%s%s%s%s%n”, my iPhone permanently disabled it’s WiFi functionality. Neither rebooting nor changing SSID fixes it :~) pic.twitter.com/2eue90JFu3
— Carl Schou (@vm_call) June 18, 2021
Bleeping Computer gives out more details about the unusually named hotspot. According to their findings, the strangely named WiFi hotspot affects any iPhone running iOS 14.4.2 and the latest iOS 14.6. After doing their own testing, BleepingComputer confirmed that the hotspot does permanently brick the phone’s WiFi connectivity.
As for those who have Android phones, however, you can rest easy. It has been confirmed that the issue doesn’t affect the devices, but users are still advised to be careful. The likelihood of falling victim to somebody using a certain WiFi signal to exploit personal data is quite high.
Apple has not commented on the matter as of this writing.
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iPhone Wireless Vulnerabilities: A Quick History
If the aforementioned WiFi hotspot manages actually to infect millions of users across the world, then it could be among the biggest cybersecurity issues in recent memory. And it also wouldn’t be the first time that iPhones have been affected by something that seems harmless.
(Photo : Getty Images )
Here’s a great example. Back in May of this year, cybersecurity experts found that the “Find My” network is ripe with vulnerabilities that perpetrators could use to steal sensitive user data. Since the network itself doesn’t need the internet to locate any lost Apple device (i.e. iPhones, iPads, and even AirTags), that’s where the issue lies.
The “Find My” network uses tech called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), so it can work without the need for an internet connection. Once somebody with the right gear and skills manages to infiltrate the network, they can pinpoint the exact devices connected to it and manage to steal small data packets. So not even being “offline” can save your information from being taken without your consent.
Aside from this, hackers can also use apps to break into your device under your nose. This can be related to the aforementioned WiFi hotspot because it’s something that users don’t know they might be doing. They could be downloading a legitimate-looking application that could serve as some “digital Trojan horse.” The same thing goes for weirdly named WiFi hotspots, which could seem funny and harmless at the start.
The lesson here is simple: do not connect to WiFi networks that you don’t trust, and don’t download apps willy-nilly.
Related: Biggest iPhone Hack Ever: ‘Fortnite’ Trial Exposes Emails Detailing the ‘XCodeGhost’ Malware
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Written by RJ Pierce
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