Your iPhone's WiFi will break after you join this hotspot

The_King

Level 7
Aug 2, 2020
314
A new iPhone bug has come to light that breaks your iPhone's wireless functionality by merely connecting to a specific WiFi hotspot.

Once triggered, the bug would render your iPhone unable to establish a WiFi connection, even if it is rebooted or the WiFi hotspot is renamed.

A bug like this could be exploited by malicious actors planting rogue "free WiFi" hotspots in popular areas to bork iPhone devices connecting to them.

This WiFi hotspot will bork your iPhone​

This week, reverse engineer Carl Schou ran into an issue when connecting to his personal WiFi hotspot named:

%p%s%s%s%s%n

On connecting to the hotspot, his iPhone's WiFi would be disabled, and every time he tried to enable it again, it would quickly turn off, even if he restarted the device or the hotspot name was changed:

"After joining my personal WiFi with the SSID '%p%s%s%s%s%n', my iPhone permanently disabled it’s WiFi functionality. Neither rebooting nor changing SSID fixes it :~)," tweeted Schou.

Schou told BleepingComputer that his experiment worked successfully on an iPhone XS, running iOS version 14.4.2.

Tests conducted by BleepingComputer on an iPhone running iOS 14.6 confirm an iPhone's wireless functionality would break after connecting to the strangely named wireless network.
bad-ssid.gif

How to rescue your iPhone from this WiFi bug?​

Although restarting your iPhone won't fix the issue, this bug is not permanent and can be fixed without resetting your entire device.

Instead, you can follow these simple steps to reset your iOS network settings to resolve the issue:

  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone, select General.
  2. Under General select Reset.
  3. You will now be at the Reset screen, where you can reset various features of iOS or the device itself.

    At this screen, select the 'Reset Network Settings' option and confirm you would like to continue when asked. The device will now restart and reset all of your network settings back to factory default. Once it has restarted, enter your passcode, and you can reconfigure your Wi-Fi settings again.
 

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CyberTech

Level 36
Verified
Nov 10, 2017
2,517
A security researcher has found that certain Wi-Fi networks with the percent symbol (%) in their names can disable Wi-Fi on iPhones and other iOS devices. Carl Schou tweeted that if an iPhone comes within range of a network named %secretclub%power, the device won’t be able to use Wi-Fi or any related features, and even after resetting network settings, the bug may continue to render Wi-Fi on the device unusable.


 
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