IPhone bug ‘breaks’ your WiFi when joining strangely named network

Be careful not to give your WiFi network an unusual name – this could create some serious headache for all iPhone users in the household. BipComputer and Appleinsider say that security researcher Carl Shou has discovered a naming bug that “breaks” WiFi on iOS devices. Give your network an SSID such as “% p% s% s% s% s% n” and your iPhone will lose WiFi functionality. You can get it back by resetting your network settings (Settings> General> Reset> Reset Network Settings), but it’s clearly a pain if you just want to avoid using cellular data.

The cause is not clear at this point, but BipComputer speculated that it could be a string formatting flaw. Simply put, iOS can confuse% inputs with programming commands and variables. Schou noted that he regularly uses names like this to play with “poorly developed devices.” He tested the bug with iOS 14.4.2, but it was still an issue from iOS 14.6.

We asked Apple for comment.

Character-related bugs are not unheard of. A 2018 bug in blocked iOS and macOS apps using a single symbol. However, Wi-Fi issues are rare and this issue would make pranksters (temporarily) easily destroy your phone using public hotspots. While it was already a good idea to avoid connecting to weird hotspots, you’ll have a particularly good reason to resist this temptation while this bug exists.

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