All the iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch have a bug, which could be used to exploit authentic news. A bug in the Safari browser, or rather a feature, will let users select a specified text on any website and let them share via iMessage to their contacts.
While this shows the rich text preview, Apple actually lets users edit the text before sending, which can be faked to manipulate receivers.
A Safari Bug For Manipulation
While we all know some flexibility features can often be exploited for mischievous things, tuning them to be good is always a priority. Failing in this space is Apple, which has a feature-type bug in its Safari browser, that can be exploited for spreading fake news.
Initially reported by MacRumours in 2019, they termed that this feature can prank friends, but Josh Long, a Chief Security Analyst at Intego, believes in either way. He claims this could be used for spreading misinformation and has also documented this in 2019. He even called out to Apple to address this but didn’t receive any support.
Explaining more about the bug, it’s known that websites with a Search box will let users search for anything they want quickly. And this can be used as the basis for this prank, of rather the exploitation trick. If you wanted to try;
- Go to a website with a search box, like ours! (Better handle your phone in the horizontal mode for easier accessing of features)
- Now go to the Search box and type anything you want (the manipulative text).
- Now select the text and tap on the Share icon next to the address bar.
- Pick iMessage, select the receiver, and send.
If you’re keen, you will notice the faults here. Since it will be sent in a rich text format, it will show up the website’s photo (or the article’s photo), its URL, and the headline that you’ve made! And this is the mistake here. While this was seen as a cool prank earlier, Josh claims this to have a wider impact by sending fake news headlines to manipulate users.
He had made a follow-up post in October this year, explaining how this could be harmful, especially at the times of COVID-19 and elections, but none have bothered much. Reaching to Apple didn’t get garn anything since all requests have failed.
Also, Apple has even released iOS 14.2, iPadOS 14.2, and iOS 12.4.9 earlier this month, with the feature-type bug still supported. Also, this happens only when performed among iPhones and iPads, but not with Macs.