If you’re reading this article using an iPhone, iPad, or Safari’s web browser on a Mac, don’t click this link.
If curiosity got the best of you and you clicked, you’re probably reading this portion of the article for the first time, since that link is designed to crash your web browser. For some Apple devices, clicking on the link can even cause your device to reboot entirely.
Unfortunately, convincing people to click on that link has become something of an internet “prank” recently.
The website’s name is both fitting and telling — Crashsafari.com — but that can easily be disguised using a link-shortener like Bit.ly. The ability to mask the URL’s actual name has led to plenty of accidental clicks, with people sharing the shortened link on social networking sites as a joke. While the site is specifically meant to crash Safari, those running other browsers should also beware, as it seems like this prank isn’t always Safari-specific.
So how do these buggy links work? The difference here is the May bug exploited the iPhone operating system’s ability to render text. In the case of Crashsafari.com, going to the link above takes you to a website which runs a tiny bit of code to overload one of the APIs (Application Program Interface), causing the phone to crash.
Here’s what it looks like.
Aside from potentially losing any unsaved work or your progress in any games running in the background of your phone, clicking on the link doesn’t do any lasting damage. That being said, it’s always advisable not to click any sketchy-looking links shared on social media.
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