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iPhone bug breaks WiFi when you join hotspot with unusual name

Carl Schou, a reverse engineer, had a problem connecting to his personal WiFi hotspot named:

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

WiFi SSID

His iPhone’s WiFi would be disabled after connecting to the hotspot, and every time he tried to enable it again, it would rapidly turn off, even if he restarted the device or changed the hotspot name: 

“My iPhone’s WiFi capabilities was permanently deactivated after connecting my personal WiFi with the SSID. Neither rebooting nor changing the SSID solves the problem 🙂 “

Schou tweet

Schou claimed that his experiment ran smoothly on an iPhone XS running iOS 14.4.2. 

Wireless capability on an iPhone running iOS 14.6 was confirmed to be broken after connecting to the curiously named wireless network during tests. 

Our Wi-Fi settings began to behave oddly in many attempts to connect to this strange SSID, but they all resulted in the same behavior – the loss of our iPhone’s wireless access. 

Other tests resulted in the behavior described by Schou, in which the iPhone’s Wi-Fi setting was disabled and we couldn’t turn it back on.

Our iPhone’s Wi-Fi could only be fixed by resetting the device’s network settings. This is a severe flaw, because hostile actors might set up rogue WiFi hotspots (which don’t require a password) in high-traffic locations to bork iPhone devices that connect to them.

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