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Adding The Percentage Symbol To Your Wi-Fi Name May Lead To Your iOS Device Internet Being Disabled Altogether

A security researcher has unearthed that naming your Wi-Fi a certain few ways may lead to the interruption or disabling of the system as a whole.

The security researcher in question is an individual named Carl Schou, a "reverse engineer" and programmer at the Secret Club firm of codebreaking. The firm's goal is to make enhancements in technology and online interfaces by essentially rummaging through code, "breaking" it in order to test out the different reactions, and utilizing the gained knowledge in order to build better, more secure systems. This line of work very firmly established Secret Club under the "security researchers" line of firms that are gaining online recognition for their intensive work. However, what Carl Schou has brought to the general public's attention has nothing to do with large software or some big website. It instead relates to something a little closer to home: our Wi-Fi.

Via a series of tweets made by the security researcher, Carl Schou states that WiFi access for any iOS device can be indefinitely stoppered by changing the name of the domain it connects to. For this example, Schou set up a public Wi-Fi domain by the name of %secretclub%power, and tried to connect an iPhone to it. Not only did the iPhone not connect to this particular network, it stopped connecting to literally any other networks in the vicinity. More light is shed on this via an entire report published by Secret Club on the matter. Apparently, all it took was changing a public Wi-Fi's SSiD to include the percentage symbol followed by any character. As for the "indefinitely" part, since this revelation of theirs is rather recent, not much headway has been made into whether or not connectivity can be regained at all. As of yet, resetting network settings is apparently not enough to restore Wi-Fi capability.

The simple solution to this? Individuals with iOS need to avoid connecting to Wi-Fi domains with the percentage symbol in their name. While Secret Club has contacted Apple with this revelation, the tech giant has yet to respond and formulate a solution. In the meanwhile, explanations have started to pop out as well. A rather in-depth reasoning is provided by 9to5Mac. Since their explanation is more thorough and complicated, we'll offer a simplified variation in exchange.

Essentially, part of the iOS system's programming commonly involves characters attached to the percentage symbol. In the C language, for example, %n means that certain variables will be saved and formatted into what is called an "output string". A fancy way of essentially stating that the variables are being arranged together. However, what probably happens with these Wi-Fi names is that their SSiD is recognized as an additional set of variables. In trying to format them, the device's memory corrupts.

The in-built iOS watchdog will recognize this as a threat, and kill the WiFi program as a whole. It's interesting to note how something almost meaningless can lead to an entire system crashing.


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