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Social media prank crashes Apple Safari

Priority Level: 
Moderate
28 January 2016

A link distributed over social media is reportedly directing Apple users to a malicious website that will crash their Safari web browsers.

The malicious website is believed to affect iPhones and iPads as well as Apple desktops and laptops.

The website reportedly crashes the browser by accessing its history many times over. In some cases, the victim’s computer may need to be restarted before it can be used again, which may cause the victim to lose any unsaved documents they have open.

Other web browsers are also affected, but less severely than Safari:

  1. Current Chrome tabs will stop responding but the web browser will continue to work
  2. Firefox will catch the malicious code and ask if the user wants to stop it executing.
  3. Internet Explorer will temporarily stop working, but resume working after a short time.

Users of Safari should be cautious when following links on social media, especially from untrusted sources. The malicious link can also be obscured through the use of URL shortener services such as bit.ly.

Social media users should refrain from directing followers to links designed to crash their computer. Even a link that performs no other malicious tasks can cause a user to lose valuable data. In addition, computer crashes may provide openings for exploits for computer programs, meaning a harmless prank could result in attackers gaining access to victims’ computers.

More information

Stay Smart Online has information on updating your computer.