Apple Inc. is very particular about the safety and privacy of their users using iPhones and other Apple devices and the fact has been evidently proven with the latest iOS 14.5 update where the Cupertino giant introduced the “App tracking Transparency” feature that allowed iPhone users to disable ad tracking on their devices.
Having said that, a funny bug has apparently taken over the iPhone maker, almost mocking the security imposed by Apple Inc. Yes! according to reports, a researcher has found out a bug, where connecting to a specifically crafted Wi-Fi name will disable all your connection on the iPhone and even its ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network.
As mentioned in a report by 9to5Mac, researcher Carl Schou claimed that joining a Wi-Fi name “%p%s%s%s%s%n” will fail all your Wi-Fi connections on the iPhone including the system networking features such as AirDrop. If you think that the old-school solution of rebooting your device will solve all your problems, let me tell you, it will not. This issue persists even on rebooting your iPhone.
Frankly, if this report had been about Android devices, it would have been understandable considering its open-source nature of functionality, but it being on the Apple iPhone is a bit hard to digest and it is definitely not good news. Note that the researcher has not shared any significant details on how he found the bug but she sure has recognized a pattern following the specific Wi-Fi name starting with all those “%” signs.
According to 9to5Mac, the “%” syntax is commonly used in programming languages to pass the string format function and the Wi-Fi subsystem name i.e., SSID glitches the system’s internal library that performs the string functions. After this, the program causes an arbitrary memory write followed by a buffer overflow. Ultimately, this leads to memory corruption on the iOS and the security watchdog inbuilt will end the process, disabling all Wi-Fi connections for the user.
This part seems to a little tricky to understand but just get this, connecting to a Wi-Fi with a similar name as “%p%s%s%s%s%n” will disable all your iPhone’s Wi-Fi connections causing a lot of trouble. So, until Apple fixes the issue with a security update, keep an eye out for such Wi-Fi networks and connect to those you actually recognize. Sidenote, refrain from connecting to any public or private Wi-Fi network that starts with a “%” sign and includes a lot of them. They are much likely to carry the bug of disablement.
If you have already become a victim of the issue and for someone who dies anytime in the future, the solution to this problem is simply resetting your network settings.
Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset network Settings. Follow these steps to reset all your network connections, this will recover your iPhone from the bug by removing all information of the “%” network name and restore your device from its memory. Once you go through with this step, you will be able to connect to any Wi-Fi network once again.