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The Crash Code - Apple's Text Loophole Becomes Super Effective Power Play

Technological loopholes and glitches have led to some pretty bizarre prank wars in the past. It can be something as simple and elegant as changing your Xbox One username to 'xboxsignout', causing online players to repeatedly almost log themselves out of matches or something far more sinister.

While the 'crash code' isn't going to leak any of your login details or reroute your monthly wages to an account somewhere in China, it will cause you no end of irritation if you know anyone 'hilarious' enough to actually implement it. Following a recent update, it's been discovered that a very particular set of mostly Arabic characters, prefaced by 'effective. Power' will cause the recipient's iPhone to instantly reset (provided the message was sent from another iPhone).

As well as standard messaging, the code will work to similar effect if sent as a private message on Twitter or Snapchat. It can be combated by either asking Siri to mark all messages as read and then simply responding to the evil little bubble or turning message notifications off altogether. In either case, nothing worse than a reset will ever happen and Apple are hard at work patching the software to make it go away for good.

The real question is, exactly why is this even happening? While Apple themselves aren't exactly sure, it's been theorized that the Arabic portion of the code is the culprit. See, whether or not the code crashes a phone depends on whether you get it as a banner notification. If you do, and the text is shortened to a '...' somewhere in the body of the Arabic text, the crash happens, if it's either side of it, nothing. Arabic characters aren't constant, they change shape depending on which characters they precede and follow, variations depending. It's been suggested that attempting to cut the phrase midway through (thus automatically changing some of the characters) could be what sends the phone into panic mode.

The text is basically meaningless if you translate it into English, it means 'For Sbllsberr', a word I'm almost certain I've sneezed before, but never actually used in a real sentence. A few strategic space bar hits will give you 'Moisten Thief Sberr' or 'The Methods to Meet Sberr' but that's the nearest thing you'll get to a coherent sentence out of the jumble (unless you start moving characters around, but I stopped experimenting once I realised how dangerously close I was venturing towards procrastination).

It's nothing to get too flustered about, once you know what to watch out for it's simple enough to avoid, but it's easy to see how people might regard it as an encrypted, demonic phone-breaker cooked up by some Lizard Squad wannabe with a mangy neck-beard and a burgeoning addiction to a weird energy drink that you can only buy on Silk Road because it makes children's eyes melt.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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The Crash Code - Apple's Text Loophole Becomes Super Effective Power Play Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, June 03, 2015 Rating: 5

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