Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

IOS 11.3 bug borked iPhones in China every time Taiwan was mentioned

iOS 11’s USB Restricted Mode Can Be Prevented From Engaging Using USB Accessory iPhone crash? Might have been China's dislike for Taiwan's flag
Cecil Davis | 12 July, 2018, 18:24

Apple has fixed a glitch that caused iPhones registered in China to crash when they received a message with an emoji showing the Taiwanese flag. Security researchers at ElcomSoft claim to have found a loophole in the new USB Restricted Mode, which rolled out Monday as part of iOS 11.4.1.

Devices have reportedly been crashing since the icon was blocked in 2017, an apparent attempt at censorship because the Chinese government refuses to acknowledge Taiwan's independence.

Wardle detailed the bug extensively in his step-by-step blog post and reported it to Apple, which lead to the issue being quietly patched in the latest iOS release (11.4.1) under the code CVE-2018-4290.

Having just released iOS 11.4.1 to the masses, Apple's focus was very much focused on squashing bugs rather than rolling out new features.

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Publican Damien Smyth is an unabashed Trump fan and came up with the idea over a few late-night drinks with a friend. Another said it was just "another pathetic photo trying to show they care about one another".

The bug came to light when security researcher Patrick Wardle received a message from a Taiwanese friend, reporting that iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger all crashed when she typed the word "Taiwan" or received a message containing the emoji for the Taiwanese flag.

He said the emoji triggered a crash in iOS as the censored version of the operating system read it is an "invalid input", rather than a symbol missing from Apple's library. Texts featuring the art simply show a "missing" emoji. However, the Chinese government has long desired taking control over Taiwan. Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Apple had already announced it would introducing such a feature, where it would cut-off access to the iPhone or iPad via the Lightning Port, if the device has not been unlocked for the last one hour.

More than a third of British adults believe emojis are the reason for the deterioration in proper language usage, according to the study commissioned by the Google-owned site YouTube. In fact, the full list of security fixes included in the update can be found on the company's website but, of particular interest is the second entry regarding how emoji were handled under certain circumstances.

The most common errors made by Brits are spelling mistakes (21 per cent), followed closely by apostrophe placement (16 per cent) and the misuse of a comma (16 per cent).