Mobile security experts have exposed what is being reported as a major security flaw in Apple’s iPhone that allows cyber-criminals to gain control of devices simply by sending a series of text messages, reports The Telegraph. Charlie Miller, an expert with Independent Security Evaluators, demonstrated the method at a cyber-security conference in Las Vegas this week. It works by the hacker sending the owner a string of text messages seemingly containing a single square character, which hides code for an executable file that can embed itself in the device’s memory. Unless the iPhone is switched off immediately on receipt of these messages, the hacker is able to assume control of some of the iPhone’s key functions, including dialing numbers, surfing the web and sending texts, and potentially enabling access to sensitive personal data. “Someone could pretty quickly take over every iPhone in the world,” warned Mr Miller. “It’s scary.”

Full details of exactly how the vulnerability can be exploited have not yet been released in order to give Apple time to patch the flaw. Miller said he informed Apple of the problem a month ago, but no software fix has been issued to date. However, security specialists said that the chance of a full-scale hack-attack using this method was unlikely. Eric Everson, an expert with MyMobiSafe, told The Telegraph that it would take around 512 text messages to launch the attack, and if any messages were deleted before the sequence was complete, the threat would be neutralised.