This Wi-Fi network name could permanently disable your iPhone's Wi-Fi features
A weird bug discovered a few weeks ago by infosec researcher Carl Schou temporarily disabled the iPhone's Wi-Fi connectivity and all Wi-Fi related features, but it seems that misfortune never comes alone. Mr Schou has discovered yet another security flaw, but this time around, it's much more severe.
The previous bug, which involved trying to connect to a Wi-Fi network named “%p%s%s%s%s%n”, could be easily resolved by resetting the iPhone's network configuration. However, the most recent vulnerability will plague you if you're simply in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi network carrying the "%secretclub%power" SSID name and don't necessarily attempt to connect to it.
Don't think you can get rid of it by simply resetting your phone's network configuration to factory defaults. It seems that it can only be dealt with by factory resetting your iPhone, which is a way more cumbersome process and could lead to loss of data that isn't backed up. Yet, there's another way of fixing the issues, in which you have to manually edit an iPhone backup and remove malicious entries from the known networks .plist, but that could be well above a regular user's scope of knowledge.
Both vulnerabilities are exploiting certain string format coding flaws that render iOS easy pickings for these simple yet heavy-hitting attacks. While it's somewhat easy to keep yourself free of the first bug by not attempting to join the specific network, this new vulnerability can't be easily dealt with, as there's no way of knowing what weirdly-named Wi-Fi hotspots or networks one might encounter.
Hopefully, Apple will fix these in an upcoming iOS update. Meanwhile, make sure to check out our iOS 15 preview.