A flaw in the iPhone’s network functionality is again being exploited by malicious Wi-Fi networks, and this time it seems to be more difficult than expected to restore this functionality.
Secret Club founder Carl Schou uncovered in June that naming a network “% p% s% s% s% s% n” could disable Wi-Fi support from any iPhone connected to it. Schou initially said the problem was persistent, but resetting a device’s network settings could fix the problem. (Though that would be of little consolation to people who don’t know how to perform this reset.)
Schou is back with one more warning: Wi-Fi networks named “% secretclub% power” can reportedly cause the same problem as before, except this time even resetting an affected device’s network settings doesn’t seem to solve the problem. “I’ve reset the network settings a few times,” Schou said after its first disclosure, “the iPhone forcibly restarted and I have run out of ideas.”
Some people have said that restoring a device using iTunes might solve the problem. However, this solution can lead to data loss depending on when the device was last backed up and a Twitter user said Resolving the problem may also require users to “manually remove” information from com.apple.wifi.known-networks.plist before restoring the device.
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These shortcomings can lead to serious problems for iPhone users. To turn off the device’s Wi-Fi connectivity, all you need to do is join an otherwise harmless network that happens to have a certain name. Resetting the network settings was already a pretty esoteric solution to the problem; Manually deleting information from a plist will be beyond the ability of the average person.