How To: Crash an iPhone (Until a Hard Reset)

Crash an iPhone (Until a Hard Reset)

How to Crash an iPhone (Until a Hard Reset)

Before I start this tutorial, no, this is not that "Effective. Power." text that is going around. With that being said, let's talk about this attack.

Hello, my hacker friends! Today we are going to look at how hackers can take advantage of the system, and repeatedly crash the iMessage app. At the end of the tutorial we will talk about ways of fixing this, in case you want to do it on your own phone. I am not responsible for any damages.

Many of you are familiar with something called a DDOS attack. This attack is commonly used on websites to shut them down for a short (or long) period of time.

What we are going to do is similar. It may sound dumb, and believe me, it is. We are going to send 60,000 emojis to the victim's phone until the app cannot handle any more. Sound familiar?

Step 1: Sending the Attack

Since we cannot type 60,000 emoji hearts onto the phone (because it will crash itself) we will use a computer! I am using my macbook's iMessage app, but you can use any texting app of your preference.

Let's use an emoji heart because I love them (pun intended).
??

If we copy and paste that heart 10 times, we will be left with 10 hearts. Do the same with the 10 hearts. You will have 100. Do the same, and you will have 1000. Do the same and you will have 10,000. Copy and paste that 6 times, and you have 60,000. Math...it actually has a use.

BEWARE:

Your computer may be very very slow now. Hit send, cover your ears, and delete the conversation before the spinny beach ball of death takes over you screen.

Step 2: Watch the Results

Now, this is where things are interesting. Let's observe how the iPhone handles this. Whenever you try to open the iMessage app on the victim phone, it will freeze, crash, and go to the home screen. This means the victim cannot use his or her iMessage app.

Why does this happen?

Like most computer programs, they can only process a certain amount of information. Since we are sending 60,000 emoji hearts, the iPhone cannot load them and the iMessage app crashes.

Is there a patch for this? Sadly not. The only patch would be to block the number that sends repeated spam like this.

Wait...you just crashed your friend's phone and you cannot fix it?

Do not panic. You did not ruin your best friend's phone as a christmas prank. In the next step we are going to talk about fixing this.

Step 3: Fixing the Flood

Now you might have noticed that even if you reset your phone, the app will always crash because it cannot display the information.

First let's make sure we have fully reset the phone with a hard reset. This does not erase any data, so calm down. Hold the home and power button until you see the apple logo and let go. Let the phone do the rest.

Now that it's turned back on. We need a different contact to send a message so that we can access the menu, to delete the conversation containing 60,000 emoji hearts. Go get another friend to text them.

When the text notification comes up on the screen. Tap on it to open up the conversation. Go to the menu where you can see all of your conversations, click edit, and delete the conversation filled with emojis.

Step 4: Conclusion

Nobody is safe! Hide everything! Nothing is secure!

Well, not really.

Anything is capable crashing if you load enough onto it. However, you shouldn't worry if you are a victim of this attack. It is easy to fix, if you are educated enough to know what the problem is (and now you are).

If you find certain phone numbers spamming you, block them. It will keep you safe, and your phone is at less of a risk of losing data.

24 Comments

Did you find this yourself?

Basically, you can crash everything with this same logic. "No one is safe..." May need to bundle it with an evil patch for PC...

Random thoughts:

Why did Jankenpopp and Zombectro use Tux as the ammunition in their Wolfenstein 3D spoof "Castle GAFA 3D"? Well, at least Debian got you 1,000 points or something. Firefox healed me. ;)

The oldest GIF on the Internet...

Haha! I was actually inspired by a story of my friend's sister sending him too many emoji penguins and his phone crashing, so I investigated! As for the other things about gifs and Jankempopp. I have no idea what you're saying.

Nice post Cameron!

I actually remember using it, when someone spammed (a friend) me every day, instead of blocking I spammed too, until, my and his Phone froze, (even after reboot), we both had clear the cache from the quick recovery of the device, for solving it.

I was about to post the effective power text bug and then I saw that this was not about that bug.

ghost_

No, it isn't. Haha!

I pasted in too much and ended up sending 6 mb of emojis. Took about and hour to deliver on a slow internet speed.

Yes, the exponential function has it's use. Regarding crashing the phone, can you exploit this? Is not exploiting apple devices a real cantankerous pain in the doddle?

Cool post. Just one question: if the victim opens the messaging app on his computer and deletes the conversation, wouldn't that be a quick fix?

Because apple is stupid, if you delete the messaging conversation on your computer, it will remain on your phone until you manually delete it.

Ok so this hack won't work on other "non stupid" messaging services, or at least is easily fixable by deleting the conversation on a computer. Right? Or is something iluding me?

I'm not sure. I know that deleting the conversation from any third party messaging app will not delete it on your phone.

This was a good and interesting read. Thank you for posting.

i can't get mine to work. any help ?

Perhaps you need to send more emojis. For me, 60,000 did the trick. However, maybe try 100,000, and then 120,000.

Hi I would like to know how I can send these emoticons from I message on my macbook pro to someone who has an iphone 4 but I don't want to use my cell number because I think the person blocked me, can I send in anonymous? if so will the person get the msg? how do i do that please?

What sand reed said. Is it possible to send anonymously? Would 67 work?

soooo.... Pretty much an emoji ping of death

Yep. Although not a ping. A ping is just a packet sent to a server and then received. This is less like a packet and more like a DDOS.

Legit question here... are there any iPhone plans left that don't have unlimited messaging? I'm assuming they're rare these days, but... if you have continuity set up between your iPhone and Mac, and have "Send as SMS" checked on your iPhone, and the "victim" doesn't have Wi-Fi service at the time, will it send the 60,000 emoji message an SMS text... the equivalent of 375 text messages? If you or the "victim" has a small allowance of texts, I guess that could be expensive? Or is this situation not likely?

If you are looking to up the bill of an old expensive phone plan that does not have unlimited texting, consider an "SMS Flood". This is a program set up to send hundreds of the same text message every couple seconds and will most likely succeed in flooding the user's phone.

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