A bug in Apple’s iOS has enabled a text message to shut down iPhones upon receiving the text.
The device merely needs to receive the text to shut the phone down and does not require the receiver to open it.
The text in the message includes two English words, a string of Arabic letters and one Japanese character, all of which appear to have no meaning.
The message was tested and CNNMoney verified that the text does in fact work and the iPhone immediately crashes and returns to being functional after 15 seconds.
Apple have said that a fix will soon be made available for the problem. However, some users have started complaining that an alternative version of the code permanently disables iMessage–until the conversation is deleted.
One way to get around the freeze is to use the Photos app to send a text message, then erase the conversation once you’re in iMessage.
The hack was first discovered by users of Reddit who think they have figured out what is wrong.
According to their theory, there is an error in the way iPhones display incoming messages. Reddit users who experimented with this say the iPhone’s notification pop-up has trouble displaying that particular line of code. The device turns itself off so the machine won’t completely crash.
It is still however, difficult to know what exactly wrong.
Apple has not yet explained what is wrong but have said in a statement, “We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters, and we will make a fix available in a software update.”
It’s unclear if someone stumbled on this code by accident or was specifically looking for ways to wreak havoc.
Many took to Twitter to share their stories of how their phones crashed.
I tried to paste the iphone crash text into a telegram message on my mac and the program crashed.
— Flea ⚠️ (@Flea) May 28, 2015
— Syracuse iSchool (@iSchoolSU) May 28, 2015
Has your iPhone messages app crashed because of the arabic characters malicious message ? There's a workaround ..Siri http://t.co/Mba4gaJdVm
— Niall O'Keeffe (@NiallOK) May 29, 2015
This article originally appeared on CNNMoney