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These WhatsApp Messages could cause your App to Crash

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

A flaw in WhatsApp allows users to send “Scary Messages” that can cause the recipient’s app to crash, or even worse, result in the loss of their chat history/media etc.

According to a report by WABetaInfo, these messages often make no sense to users but WhatsApp interprets the characters differently – “sometimes WhatsApp is unable to render the message totally, because its structure is so weird: the combination of these characters create a situation where WhatsApp isn’t able to process the message, determining an infinite crash.”

An infinite crash occurs when users try to open an app but it freezes or closes and restarting the app doesn’t restore functionality. 

The reports suggest that there are a number of ‘secret’ WhatsApp groups where users share malicious code and messages ‘created to crash a specific platform, so there are WhatsApp Groups that share codes to crash WhatsApp for Android, other groups share scary messages to crash WhatsApp for iOS.’

WhatsApp is Working on “Vacation Mode” Feature, Again

WhatsApp is again working on its “Vacation Mode” feature, according to reports from WABetaInfo, after it abandoned the project last year.

The feature, when enabled, is expected to allow users to access a dedicated menu with two new notification options for their archived chats.

  • Notify new messages – “it’s the current behaviour. If you decide to disable it (when the feature will be available for everyone), you will have the vacation mode, so archived chats continue to stay in the archive when new messages arrive.”
  • Auto-hide inactive chats – “this is an extension of the vacation mode. If enabled, if a chat is older than 6 months, it will be automatically archived. Probably WhatsApp needs to change the description of this option because it’s not perfectly clear now.”

There’s no word just yet on when users can expect to see this feature rollout.

Edited by Jenna Delport
Follow Jenna Delport on Twitter

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