Don’t click the following link. Don’t even move your mouse over it.
Did you? If you’re running Safari, Firefox, or another web browser, it will simply fail to load. But if you’re using Google Chrome? If you moused over the link, then your window just crashed. If you managed to click on it — or pasted it into a new window — the entire app just entirely crashed.
(Here it is again, unlinked: http://a/%%30%30)
It’s a bug that was flagged up by researcher Adnris Atteka on September 18 and reported to Google. (We first heard about in The Guardian.) Chrome can’t make sense of the address, and crashes in the process.
It appears to affect the most recent version of Chrome on both OS X and Windows. We tested it on OS X, and sure enough, it immediately crashed Chrome.
The bug is reminiscent of a previous issue affecting Skype. Sending a certain 8-letter message back in June would permanently break people’s apps. The company began automatically censoring the offending message to stop the problem. In May, a similar issue affected iPhones: Sending a string of characters would crash the recipient’s Messages app.
The Guardian points out that a fix has already been written for the Chrome bug. But it won’t make it into a general (not beta) release of Chrome right away. (We’ve reached out to Google to ask about timeframe.)
So until then — don’t click.
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