“Crash Safari” Website Crashes Apple’s Web Browser, Also Does a Number on Chrome

9332428567_6c326ffecd_bIf you've seen references to a site called crashsafari.com floating around the web, please do us all a favor and not click it or share it, and for the love of Cthulhu please do not use it for a practical joke.

Independent, 9to5MacTelegraph, and a whole host of other sites are reporting that the latest gag to make its way around the internet is a site that exploits the history feature in HTML5 to crash web browsers. It works by consuming more and more RAM until the browser either stops responding, or crashes.

9to5Mac explains in more detail"

The code of the CrashSafari site is very simple. The page includes a header title (which you’ll never actually see because the browser crashes) and a small piece of JavaScript. The JavaScript calls the HTML5 History API thousands of times in a loop, essentially causing Safari to freeze.

The History API is what allows modern websites to change the URL of the page without causing a refresh: scroll 9to5Mac’s homepage and you’ll see the text in the URL bar change. The person behind this site has found that you can cause a crash by abusing the API and calling it thousands of times in quick succession.

You can activate it by browsing to the URL directly as well as clicking on links in apps, like tapping on a link shared over Facebook and Twitter. Depending on how the website is opened, it will either crash the current app, the Safari browser, or the whole of system.

When I tried this on my iPad, the impact was minimal (Safari simply closed), but there are also reports that this gag can crash iPhones. You can see it in action here:

I have also tried this on Chrome on Windows, and I can tell you that this site consumed around 3GB of RAM before Chrome became unresponsive. There's another report that it's also causing Android phones to heat up and slow down, but I can't confirm that (I'm not stupid enough to try the site _again_).

If you're thinking of playing this joke, don't. There are funny practical jokes, but this is not one of them.

image by WillzUK

About Nate Hoffelder (11583 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

5 Comments on “Crash Safari” Website Crashes Apple’s Web Browser, Also Does a Number on Chrome

  1. Whatever you do, don’t push the big red button.

  2. Firefox (Windows desktop version) did OK. It got unresponsive for a moment, then it showed me the usual ‘script is taking too long’ dialog (twice). I clicked ‘stop script’ (both times). It became responsive again, I was able to navigate away from the page.
    It never used more than 1GB of RAM.
    I never thought I would be praising Firefox for stability, of all things.

  3. It works by consuming more and more RAM until the browser either stops responding, or crashes. Where is this information?

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