January 1, 1970 Date Change Will Brick iPhones

Apple / Tech
brick iPhones

Well here we go again, another way to brick iPhones and an interesting way at that, considering almost no one is going to change the date to January 1, 1970. That’s right, it seems that if you go into any 64-bit iOS device and change the date to January 1, 1970, the device will not boot and only a physical repair will bring it back. This according to a redditor who reported the bug yesterday.

When the date of a 64-bit iOS device is set to January 1, 1970, the device will fail to boot.

Connecting the device to iTunes and restoring the device to factory defaults will not put the device back in working order. Instead, a physical repair is required.

When connected to public Wi-Fi, iPhone calibrates its time settings with an NTP server. Attackers can set send malicious NTP requests to adjust every iPhone’s time settings to January 1, 1970, hence brick every iPhone connected to the same network.

Please duplicate bug report (rdar://24606140) at http://bugreport.apple.com or send feedback through http://www.apple.com/feedback so that this issue gets resolved.

We’re not sure why this bug even exists in iOS but then we’re not even sure why anyone would set their device to such a specific date anyway. Generally when you setup your iOS device you are doing it over a network that recognizes what century you’re in and sets the date accordingly. Why anyone would want to set the date manually, especially to January 1, 1970, is beyond us. Perhaps it was some Apple engineer throwing in his idea of a joke thinking no one would even think about doing this. For now it doesn’t seem that anyone is affected unless you manually set the date as described. The original posters theory of an attacker changing iPhone dates through Apple’s servers could happen but very unlikely.

Of course there’s already a YouTube video on it, feel free to watch if you like.

What do you think of this latest bug? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Twitter.

  Source: Reddit
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