There's a web page circulating online that will certainly crash Apple's Safari browser on Macs, and cause iPhones and iPads to reboot.

It can cause other browsers to crash as well, including Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera, among others.

The web page is called Crash Safari (crashsafari.co) and uses JavaScript to overload your browser by means of a self-generating text string that fills up its address bar. When you encounter this on your Mac, Safari will simply freeze and display "Application Not Responding."

Since this is the Internet, mischief-makers are disguising the Crash Safari link through URL shortening services and passing it around through social networks and email, in an attempt to crash other people's devices and browsers.

The effect is more notable on iPhones and iPads because the web page will cause iOS devices to heat up and eventually force it to restart after about 20 seconds.

Take note that Android devices aren't immune from Crash Safari either. If you visit the web page on Chrome, for instance, your smartphone or tablet will warm up and slow down. Fortunately, rebooting an iOS device should solve the issue. For Android, simply close Chrome and the gadget should be fine.

According to 9to5Mac, the prank is said to work even on iOS 9.2.1 and OS X 10.11.3, in addition to "some" beta versions.

Looking at the code itself (see screenshot), it doesn't seem to contain malware — although crashes can be used to exploit weaknesses in a system. Thus, it would be prudent to avoid Crash Safari altogether. Here are a few suggestions how:

  • If you're using a Mac or PC, hover over text links to view its URL. If the link is shortened, try pasting it in link-expanding facilities like CheckShortURL to see where it really goes.
  • On your iOS device, tap and hold a text link to see its URL. Be careful on your iPhone 6/6s Plus, however, because pressing on a link will activate 3D Touch, run the Crash Safari code, and cause your device to freeze.
  • To completely get around the issue, don't click any suspicious and/or shortened links in the first place.

Fortunately, Apple already knows about Crash Safari and is currently working on a fix, so expect the problem to be resolved soon.

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