Why connecting your iPhone to ‘this’ Wi-Fi network is not such a great idea

By: |
July 06, 2021 6:19 PM

It is not yet known whether Cupertino is working on a solution to fix this issue.

Many are looking for possible explanations for this

iPhone vulnerability: A new vulnerability in the iPhone or iOS devices in general has come to light. Reverse engineer Carl Schou has shared that he and his not-for-profit group Secret Club found recently that public WiFi networks that contain the percentage symbol in their names have the ability to disable the WiFi on iPhones and other iOS devices when these devices are in the range. This means that the iOS device would not be able to use any features related to WiFi, and the issue might not necessarily be gone even when the user has reset the network settings.

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They found that if an iPhone got in touch with a network that had %p%s%s%s%s%n as its SSID name, it triggered a bug in the networking stack of the iPhone, disabling its WiFi and rendering system networking features like AirDrop unusable.

Many are looking for possible explanations for this, and 9to5 Mac has offered a likely one: that the % symbol followed by a character is a common syntax in the programming language used to format variables in an output string. It is possible that the SSID name is being sent by the WiFi subsystem without any changes to an internal library where string formatting is being carried out, and due to this, it could be an arbitrary memory write and buffer overflow, leading to memory corruption. The process could therefore possibly be killed by the iOS watchdog, disabling the entire WiFi feature.

It is not yet known whether Cupertino is working on a solution to fix this issue, but as per 9to5 Mac, the issue might be avoided by not connecting an iOS device to a network containing % symbols in their name.

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