Apple products, ranging from iPhones to MacBooks and iMacs, are known for their security and lag-free optimum performance, but a security researcher found a bug that can crash an iPhone and even a Mac. In case you're wondering how's that possible, security researcher Sabri Haddouche showed clicking on a malicious link can cause a kernel panic in iOS and MacOS browsers and crash the devices temporarily.
Before it causes any panic among Apple users, it must be noted that the bug is not a fatal flaw and won't harm your device in any way. It is also worth mentioning that the bug doesn't steal data stored on your Apple device, so it is merely a prank tool and an annoying one at that.
How does it work?
This is one of the simplest exploits and includes just 15 short lines of code on a webpage that can single-handedly restart your iPhone or iPad. If you're visiting the malicious link on your Mac, it can freeze your Safari browser.
The code actually uses up all the available resources, which triggers a fail-safe built inside iOS. To avoid any damage to the device, any overwhelming activity is terminated by restarting the iPhone and in this case the iPhone will perform a full reboot or a respring (UI reboot) depending on the version of the OS. Once the iPhone is back up, it is like nothing ever happened.
In the case of macOS devices, the attack briefly freezes Mail and Safari and then slows down the computer.
Haddouche also noted that all browsers on iOS are affected by this bug due to the same WebKit rendering engine and Apple's restrictions on allowing iOS apps to use their own rendering engine.
Is there a fix?
Sadly, no. But the only way iOS and macOS users can protect their devices is by avoiding random links sent over WhatsApp or emails. Apple is likely to deploy a fix, which is the only way to permanently address the problem.