iMessage denial of service ‘prank’ spams users rapidly with messages, crashes iOS Messages app

Over the last couple of days, a group of iOS developers has been targeted with a series of rapid-fire texts sent over Apple’s iMessage system. The messages, likely transmitted via the OS X Messages app using a simple AppleScript, rapidly fill up the Messages app on iOS or the Mac with text, forcing a user to constantly clear both notifications and messages.
In some instances, the messages can be so large that they completely lock up the Messages app on iOS, constituting a ‘denial of service’ (DoS) attack of sorts, even though in this case they appear to be a prank. Obviously, if the messages are repeated an annoyingly large volume but don’t actually crash the app, they’re still limiting the use you’ll get out of the service. But if a string that’s complex enough to crash the app is sent through, that’s a more serious issue.
The attacks hit at least a half-dozen iOS developer and hacker community members that we know of now, and appear to have originated with a Twitter account involved in selling UDIDs, provisioning profiles and more that facilitate in the installation of pirated App Store apps which are re-signed and distributed. The information about the source of the attacks was shared by one of the victims, iOS jailbreak tool and app developer iH8sn0w.

By Matthew Panzarino

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