back to article Did you know? The word 'Taiwan' would crash iOS thanks to a buggy filter for the Chinese govt

Apple's attempt to filter out text on its iPhones to appease the Chinese government would crash iOS – and now that bug, or feature, has been fixed. Infosec whizkid Patrick Wardle revealed today that CVE-2018-4290, a denial of service flaw in iOS 11.3 and earlier, was in fact a programming blunder Apple introduced when it …

  1. JeevesMkII

    Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

    This sort of political engineering makes me sick.

    I remember being pretty shocked to learn that we kept two time zone databases, one that reflected the facts on the ground vis a vis Israel and one which completely denied the existence of Jerusalem for the reality challenged community.

    I've got plenty of sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, but that doesn't extend to flattering them and the rest of the Israeli hostile Arab world when they want to engage in delusional wishful thinking.

    I think it'd be better if the phone just crashed whenever the Orwellian censorship engine was supposed to kick in. At least then the user would know something was wrong with their world.

    1. Garymrrsn
      Flame

      Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

      The reality is corporations are amoral entities with only one purpose for existence. All attempts by corporate spokesmen to anthropomorphize them as having human feelings are manure. Good is black ink and bad is red ink. Humans are a source of black ink, nothing more.

      1. Wade Burchette

        Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

        "The reality is corporations are amoral entities with only one purpose for existence."

        Apple is a publicly traded corporation. Like all publicly traded corporations, the shareholders only care about profits. They don't want to hear "we lost billions because we made an honorable decision". If shareholders heard those words, they will force out the CEO and bring in someone who will make billions, all so their stock price will go up. This is the nature of the beast, and it is both good and bad.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

      You'll always have to make some compromises with reality.

      Example: thinking back a couple of years now, how did your timezone databases list territory that was controlled by ISIS?

      My guess is, it simply denied its existence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

        how did your timezone databases list territory that was controlled by ISIS?

        UTC minus 2,000 years?

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

      Jerusalem does indeed exist, but most of the World doesn't recognize the Israeli annexation of the whole town and its land-stealing and people eviction policy. In your example, the political engineering is to make a specific database to please Israel.

      The US seems to gladfully accept that a country invades and annexes its neighbour's land (East Jerusalem annexed by Israel, Crimea annexed by Russia...). I wonder how the US would react if Mexico took back the lands occupied in 1848?

      1. Waseem Alkurdi
        Thumb Up

        Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

        one which completely denied the existence of Jerusalem for the reality challenged community.

        You mean "completely denied the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel". That's right, because it, well, isn't Israel's capital. Let me tell you why:

        I'm going to buy a pistol, take over your house, kill your wife and children - may God forbid any harm happens to them - and call it mine.

        Does that make it really mine? I'm the stronger entity and I took your house by force. Does that give me the right to it?

        I've got plenty of sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, but that doesn't extend to flattering them and the rest of the Israeli hostile Arab world when they want to engage in delusional wishful thinking.

        I live in an Arab nation and I'm a Muslim so let me answer this with regards to our community.

        Let me make it clear first that we have absolutely no problem with Jews. They believe in the same God as we Muslims and our fellow Christians believe in. There is a large Jewish community in the western part of the Arab world, and we live in peace with them.

        That is why I believe that Israel's claim of "anti-Semitism" that they throw upon Arabs and Muslims is groundless.

        However, we absolutely have a problem with anybody, anybody, who comes over to the houses of our neighbors with heavy guns, take over their land, spill the blood of their children, and drive them to exodus and madness.

        Why? Remember the analogy I gave above about me taking over your house and claiming it to be mine ... that's why.

        The people who chant "death to Israel" in protests are the very people whom had their families killed by Israeli forces in 1948 and 1967 and beyond.

        But don't get me wrong. I don't advocate the use of force and violence as a solution, and I hate revenge that sheds more blood. But is letting Israel take over Palestinian lands fair? Is letting Intel set up its R&D facilities in Kiryat-Gat, on the rubble of the houses of the Palestinian village of al-Fallujah fair, at least to the fathers and children of the victims?

        Hope I explained it! :-)

        If anybody has another viewpoint, I'll be glad to hear it!

    4. SuccessCase

      Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

      “This sort of political engineering makes me sick.”

      Makes me sick too. But I expect every person commenting on here, including the oh so principled hand wringers, and me, if offered a slice of profit of iPhone sales in China would say “Thank you very much” and pocket the money, and would suddenly find responsibility rests with the Chinese government rather than a business trying to get on and fulfill the purchase wishes of customers who are only addressable by doing what the Chinese government demands.

  2. wsm

    Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan...

    Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan...

      Big night tonight, I'm really going to TAIWAN on!

    2. pavel.petrman

      Re: Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan...

      Taiwan Taiwan Taiwan Mushroom Mushroom. I do hope somebody turns this story into a stupid, memeworthy song.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL6CDFn2i3I

      1. GrapeBunch

        Re: Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan...

        And the tune should be reminiscent (but not so much as to cause litigation, my so fine swede lard) of "Istanbul".

    3. deltamind

      Re: Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan...

      Nice! I've never been to taiwan,but I actually think that taiwan is very taiwanish to be honest.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keeping Chinese government happy

    Like move your data to their region?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/apple-moves-icloud-data-china-human-rights-spying-arrests-technology-privacy-a8226541.html

    Yep, China has all of apples iCloud data in its country and the encryption keys too....

  4. LDS Silver badge

    No answer?

    Maybe Apple email system crashed if you wrote the word Taiwan...

    I may understand you accept censorship to make billions. Just say so, don't try to sell it as a different thing, not everyone drinks kool-aid blindly as marketing people do...

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Burp

    "We believe that our presence in China helps promote greater openness and facilitates the free flow of ideas and information"

    PR BS makes me throw up. These bastard lizards are able to tell anything for bucks. No integrity, no honesty, no dignity. I fart in their general direction!

  6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    蒂姆,我们告诉你谨慎!

    Ooo dear, that doesn't come out very well if you read it as Japanese. :D

    1. Michael Strorm

      Re: 蒂姆,我们告诉你谨慎!

      I'm pretty sure the makers of Alphabetti Spaghetti never intended anyone to do *that* with it.

    2. mhenriday
      Boffin

      Re: 蒂姆,我们告诉你谨慎!

      it doesn't come out any better as Chinese, either J G ; Shaun should either get help from someone who knows the language, or better still, stop messing about with it....

      Henri

  7. el kabong

    Go to bed with dogs...

    wake up with fleas.

    But they don't care, those fleas are worth billion$$$ and that's what apple really cares

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Listen, don't mention Taiwan!

    I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I do mention Taiwan sometimes

      but I do it anonymously just to stay safe. I am wise.

      I don't want to have any trouble with the chinese authorities because they are powerful, enormously heavy handed and they have long reach. Their reach is only getting longer so better not play with them.

      If you were wise you would have posted that Taiwan remark anonymously too.

  9. Mycho Silver badge

    What about the Republic of China?

    You know, the real name for Taiwan (not to be confused with their neighbors the PRC)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the Republic of China?

      You know, the real name for Taiwan (not to be confused with their neighbors the "PR"C)

      Please use apropriate punctuation when mentioning "peoples republics" that are neither of those things!

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: What about the Republic of China?

        That was why I used the acronym, I could leave the punctuation vague.

  10. Tom Melly

    Just out of curiosity...

    ... what do the Chinese government do about personal encryption? (e.g. PGP)

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      Re: Just out of curiosity...

      I think it's called rubber hose cryptanalysis.

  11. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    How are the heads of the Foxconn plants in China supposed to phone home to Taiwan?

    Oh wait, I suppose the regular POTS line still works.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you assuming that China is unique in this regard?

    Any such assumption would be unjustified.

    "Does Apple really add code to iOS to appease the *.* government? Of course!"

    TIFIFY.

  13. doug_bostrom

    It's odd that even as China is such a powerful player in objective terms it behaves in such a weak and humiliating manner.

    All that hair dye soaking into the poor old brains of the geriatric leadership? They seem so frightened; bizarre.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BREAKING NEWS: PRC authorities shut down El Reg

    Trouble

    Ahead

    In

    World

    And

    News

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