A so called killer text bomb dubbed the Black Dot of Death is targeting WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessages.

The Black Dot of Death is capable of disrupting operations on an Android or iPhone, but it won’t destroy a phone as some mainstream media titles have claimed in their excited frenzy.

That said, it doesn’t mean that it’s harmless, because it is.

The actual text message contains an emoji of a medium-sized black circle, accompanied by an emoji of a pointed finger, or sometimes smiling face, urging the recipient to click on the black dot.

The emojis are harmless but hidden inside the text message are lots of invisible Unicode characters (a character encoding standard) that overload the phone causing the message services to crash.

If you receive a text message with a black dot in it don’t click on anything and simply delete it.

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Not the first time

Killer text bombs are nothing new. Earlier this year a bug was discovered in Apple devices based on the Unicode symbol representing a letter from the south Indian Telugu language. If vulnerable versions of iOS displayed the character it would crash.

Similarly ChaiOS bug was another text bomb that when sent to other users crashed the person's iMessage application when recipients opened a URL sent in a text message.