A SECURITY expert yesterday warned of a nasty trick that pranksters can pull to knock your iPhone offline.
Writing on Twitter, researcher Carl Schou revealed that tech savvy rascals can disable any iOS device's WiFi by changing the settings on a nearby router.
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Simply switching the name of the network to something with the per cent symbol (%) in it can knock out WiFi on nearby iPhones, he said.
If an iPhone comes within range of a network named %secretclub%power, for instance, the device won’t be able to use Wi-Fi or any related features.
The bug may continue to render WiFi on the device unusable even after resetting network settings, Carl added.
"You can permanently disable any iOS device's WiFI by hosting a public WiFi named %secretclub%power," the researcher wrote on Sunday.
"Resetting network settings is not guaranteed to restore functionality."
Carl is the founder of not-for-profit group The Secret Club, which digs up bugs in popular software.
The team sifts through the code of apps, operating systems and more in a quest to find and report potentially dangerous flaws.
It's not clear why the presence of the per cent symbol in WiFi network names forces iPhones offline.
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According to 9to5Mac, the issue may stem from the way that the character is used in programming languages.
"The Wi-Fi subsystem probably passes the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) unsanitized to some internal library that is performing string formatting, which in turn causes an arbitrary memory write and buffer overflow," the site said.
"This will lead to memory corruption and the iOS watchdog will kill the process, hence effectively disabling Wi-Fi for the user."
You can avoid falling victim to the bug by simply not connecting to WiFi networks with per cent symbols in their names.
It's unclear if Apple is working on a fix for the weird bug. The Sun has reached out to the company for comment.
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