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132 shares, 345 points

Apple HomeKit allows users to control and automate compatible smart home devices. Additionally, changes made on one Apple device can be automatically reflected on the others, thanks to iCloud syncing. On the other hand, a newly discovered HomeKit vulnerability can cause iPhone smartphones to constantly reboot and lock up.

The issue affects a wide variety of iOS versions, including iOS 15.2, the latest stable release. In fact, malicious third-party apps can also trigger this error if you are using an older version of iOS. Depending on your iPhone’s preferences, your iPhone may crash, restart, or lock up completely. .

Discovered by researcher Trevor Spiniolas, this vulnerability can be triggered by creating a HomeKit device with a very long name. If a user accidentally accepts an invite link to a HomeKit device with a name longer than 500,000 characters, iOS crashes and restarts indefinitely. Additionally, third-party apps have permission to change pre-iOS 15 HomeKit device names. Thus, a developer could remotely exploit the vulnerability in previous versions of iOS without user intervention.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent this vulnerability from being exploited on your iPhone. You can disable iCloud syncing of the Home app first. That way, HomeKit data stays local and factory resetting your iPhone won’t load the long compromised name from iCloud. Another precaution you can take is to remove Home Controls from the Control Center. This will only cause the Home app to crash instead of the entire OS if the bug is exploited on your device.

Still, the best way to protect yourself is to ignore invite links from people you don’t know or trust. Additionally, if you’re still an iOS 14 user, upgrading to the latest version of iOS 15 will prevent apps from changing the HomeKit device’s name to a long one.

Apple initially informed Trevor that it would not patch this bug before 2022, but the estimated date was later changed to early 2022.


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