New WhatsApp message can crash your app and phone

A bug is being forwarded via WhatsApp messages which when tapped, could send not just the Android app crashing but possibly even the entire Android device as well, the media reported.

"As with any message bomb, it involves sending and receiving a specially crafted message with hidden symbols in-between spaces. Tapping on a portion of the text will basically make the app 'expand' the hidden symbols, potentially overloading the app and even the OS," SlashGear reported on Sunday (May 6).

"There seem to be two variants of this WhatsApp message being forwarded. One involves an ominous black dot that comes with a warning on what will happen if you tap on it which most curious cats will do anyway," the report added.
“If you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang”. The line is followed by a 'Black dot' in the next line and the words "t-touch here". Upon touching the black icon, the app freezes. As per reports, the message uses an RLM (right-to-left mark) as opposed to WhatsApp's Left-to-Right format, which causes the app to crash. The message is said to affect both Android and iOS.

Another "message bomb" which is causing the messaging platform to crash is more "nefarious, looks too innocent" and does not come with a warning. The message includes special characters followed by an emoji that do not display visibly but are used to change text behaviour. The message, containing the text "This is very interesting!" is followed by a crying laughing emoji at the end. As per a Reddit user, the message is so heavy that it is crashing the smartphone upon copying and pasting on another chat box. The string of characters, leading to the enormous size of the message is what is expected to be crashing the app.

The problem of WhatsApp being crashed by some forwarded messages has been experienced since long, with such messages repeatedly taking new forms. Such messages or "message bombs" are not limited to Android. Even iMessage is not immune to bugs that could send the app crashing.

WhatsApp has not commented on the potentially disruptive bug so far.