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 Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.