Feeds

Data-gobbling, dollar-munching iPhone bug unearthed

The $15,000 download

The Power of One Infographic

The reason why you found an enormous but unexpected iPhone data-connection charge on your phone bill may have been discovered in Estonia.

From Cult of Mac comes word that Estonian blogger Oliver K. has discovered a bug in Safari for iPhone that will leave open a Motion JPEG video stream even if you close the Safari app. The resulting continuing stream can quickly add up to multiple expensive megabytes of unexpected data transfer when your iPhone is downloading data from a 3G or EDGE network.

And "expensive" is a gross understatement. In a blog post (Google translation) describing his testing of the bug, Oliver K. noted that a connection kept open in this manner resulted in a download of over 740 megabytes in little more than an hour. AT&T charges $0.0195 per kilobyte of data transfer when a subscriber is traveling internationally without an already-pricey Data Global Add-On plan, so a 740MB-plus download would run to nearly fifteen thousand dollars.

Try explaining that phone bill entry to your significant other.

This bug would not be apparent to iPhone users who subscribe to unlimited data plans, but such rogue streaming could put added pressure on, for example, AT&T's already overloaded 3G network.

To be sure, Motion JPEG is not a commonly used web codec, but it is used by many webcams. So, Safari for iPhone users, should you choose to view a webcam on your Apple handheld, make sure to navigate to another page after doing so. Oliver K. says that doing so is the only way he knows to interrupt the stream.

Or, as he put it: "Ainus hetkel teadaolev võimalus ühendust katkestada on avada Safari ning samalt lehelt minna mõnele teisele lehele."

Apple did not respond to our request for comment on this report. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.