Warning for iPhone users: strangely titled Wi-Fi networks can break your phone's connectivity
A new bug has been discovered that can seriously infect your iPhone's wireless connectivity. According to BleepingComputer (via AppleInsider), if you try to connect to a strangely titled Wi-Fi hotspot, your iPhone's Wi-Fi connectivity breaks.
This was discovered by reverse engineer Carl Schou who create a Wi-Fi hotspot that he named "%p%s%s%s%s%n." When he tried to connect his iPhone to the hotspot, the handset's Wi-Fi functionality became disabled and no matter what he tried-even renaming the hotspot-he could not get his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality to return. There is a fix and we will get to it shortly.
First, we want to point out that this appears to be an "iPhone only" issue as Android handsets were able to log into the hotspot without an issue. Some researchers have come to the conclusion that iOS reads the percentage sign at the front of the hotspot name as an indication that the rest of the characters should be treated as a command or a variable instead of plain ordinary text.
To prevent this from happening to your iPhone, do not attempt to connect to hotspots that you are not familiar with. And there will be those with a warped sense of humor who will find it funny to booby trap public hotspots in order to disable others' iPhone units.
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 :~) pic.twitter.com/2eue90JFu3— Carl Schou (@vm_call) June 18, 2021
If this should happen to you, resetting your iPhone's network settings should fix the problem. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings > Confirm. Once your iPhone restarts, set up your Wi-Fi as you normally would.
Something similar took place back in February 2018 when an Indian character from the Tenglu language was sent over iMessage or simply inserted into a text field. The iPhone in question would crash immediately forcing it to reboot. This was an issue way back in iOS 11.2.5.