If you’ve got an iPhone, stay wary of any suspicious links that your friends or enemies might send you any time soon. YouTube, Vimeo and other reputable video hosting services are perfectly safe, but there’s one particular video link doing the rounds at the moment that can lock up your iPhone and require a hard reboot.
A previously undiscovered (or undisclosed) bug in iOS means that the smartphone operating system is vulnerable to a memory leak that can be caused by playing back a video encoded in the h.264 file format that contains corrupted data. It’s something that Apple can fix pretty easily in a minor software update, but those kind of fixes can sometimes take a while to roll out.
There’s one particular video that we’ve actually tested out on an iPhone this morning, but we’re not going to post the full URL — we don’t want to encourage the more devious amongst you to send it to your friends. Basically, if someone sends you an iMessage or text message link to a URL on the domains VK dot com or testtrial dot site90 dot net, don’t click them.
Any video sharing site that actually processes and verifies the videos that are uploaded to it should be safe from this bug — which appears to be an issue with the video’s embedded audio track. That means you should feel free to keep browsing around YouTube and Vimeo and Facebook videos in your usual footloose and fancy-free fashion. But certain videos living online — or even videos sent directly through over-the-top messaging services like WhatsApp — can crash your phone.
As a general rule, stay away from any bit.ly or other URL shortening and redirection services until this is sorted out. [Reddit]