Don’t click on that: crashsafari.com and crashchrome.com links crashing smartphones

Patrick O'Rourke

January 25, 2016 1:38pm

If you’re an iPhone or Android user and you see a nefarious looking link on Twitter or Facebook, it might be a good idea to avoid clicking on it.

Mischievous Twitter users are passing around a link to crashsafari.com, a website that was created in 2015 and designed specifically to crash iOS devices. If this sounds farfetched, try it out; the exploit actually works.

On the backend side of things, both crashsafari.com and crashchrome.com seem to run a javascript code that overloads the user’s address bar with an infinite series of numbers, though, there are conflicting claims on exactly how the exploit actually works.

According to an interview in Wired, security researcher F-Secure, says that crashsafari.com, as well as another website called crashchrome.com, take advantage of an issue related to browser history, killing the app and forcing a restart when visiting the URL.

On Twitter, users are trolling friends and strangers with the trick, tweeting out messages like, “check out Drake’s latest album” or “Here’s my fire mixtape, yo.”

The exploit affects those using Safari on iPhone/iPad and causes an immediate reboot of the iPhone. On desktop, Safari slows to a crawl, giving users an extended glimpse at Apple’s famous beach ball.

The Chrome version of the exploit causes Windows, Mac, iOS and Android all to immediately crash, but not restart. When visiting the website with the Nexus 6P, the smartphone became unresponsive for multiple minutes before suggesting Chrome needed to be closed.

  • Marc Palumbo

    Not a Windows Problem 😀

    • Unless you’re using Chrome on Windows.

    • Marc Palumbo

      It’s ok. Chrome on Windows can crash on it’s own. It comes with it’s own mischievous code by sucking my ram dry 😉

    • Rev0lver

      I’m sure the 12 windows phone users must be very relieved….

    • He said Windows, not Windows Phone! the foot is always bigger going back in your own mouth!

    • Rev0lver

      No foot in my mouth. It was a little joke. You need to learn to take things less seriously….

    • sure…. nice save!

    • Rev0lver

      I guess…

    • Marc Palumbo

      He realized his mistake

    • Marc Palumbo

      I must have forgotten about all 200 million Windows devices. Oops… my bad!

    • Rev0lver

      No problem. Everyone makes mistakes.

    • MassDeduction

      200 million? That’s just Windows 10. The whole Windows ecosystem is much, much bigger than 200 million.

    • Marc Palumbo

      Ya I know, but I wanted to outline Windows 10 since it’s their mobile OS. I’m not sure of Windows 8.1 or 8, but I’m sure they’re out there.

  • Thorsten Garbe

    Nope my phone didnt crash either. Lg g4

  • Mikel Calderon

    apparently it generates a url with 10000 numbers. causing the page to hang.

    • Tim

      I copied the link into Notepad++ and there are 1792 numbers after the link. both crashsafari and crashchrome are the same

  • Not a problem on my BlackBerry Priv, browser is unresponsive but I just close it.

    • Mikel Calderon

      I came back to say just that. On my Priv it loads “what were you expecting”. But there may be a more nefarious plot here than we can see. Whoever runs this site is collecting info using google analytics. Probably nothing but you can never be too safe.

  • BritBloke

    FYI, the Wired link in your fourth paragraph links to crashsafari. I’m guessing that’s not intentional 😀

  • Quik

    Crashed Chrome on my Galaxy Note 4. But the phone recovered fine after about 20 seconds.

  • Mo Dabbas

    In the article, you should give a warning about the “try it out” part. lol. I clicked it thinking I may see a video or something how it works but then I got my browser frozen. It crashes and asks to restore the pages…. Nothing major

    • Colton Blumhagen

      Except for me when it restored the pages it restored crashsafari. lol

    • I don’t know, I think “try it out” in a sentence that sentence is pretty clear.

  • Graham Fluet

    Blackberry browser crashes, but the entire OS stays responsive and you can quickly close and relaunch the browser. Firefox freezes and has to be relaunched.

  • pumpkin_link

    not a problem on the xperia play

  • Ipse

    Would be fun to know how many IOS users clicked on the link….