WhatsApp users are being warned about a new ‘text bomb’ that can cause their iOS and Android handsets to freeze.
It is being spread by messages sent via the popular app and comes in two varieties. One reads: ‘This is very interesting’ with a crying while laughing emoji, followed by ‘Read more’. Tapping on ‘read more’ causes your handset to freeze.
Another features a black dot and contains the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot causes the crash to occur.
The code powering the messages is being shared on Pastebin, meaning anyone can find it online, copy and paste it, then spread the text bomb via WhatsApp.
Anyone who is sent the text bomb is advised to delete the message in question. The safest way to do this is to delete the conversation thread it is part of, rather than clicking on the message itself.
Devices caught out by the bomb may need to be rebooted. To do this, hold down the power button on your handset until the restart option appears, or power down the device then power it back up if this option isn’t available.
WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement, but the Facebook-owned firm is likely to issue a software patch fixing the problem in the near future.
WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device
Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically
The bug has been hidden in the specially crafted messages according to Neowin, who first reported the text bomb after spotting claims made on Reddit.
In the first message, the code in question is hidden just after the emoji and clicking on ‘read more’ causes Whatsapp to expand this part of the message. In the second, the code is hidden after the dot icon.