You already know not to click or tap on suspicious-looking links, but URL shorteners are making that a little more complicated today. Twitter users are passing around a shortened link that directs your browser to CrashSafari.com, a site that does just what it sounds like: crashes Safari.
If you tap on the link on your iOS device, your iPhone will start rebooting right away. On a Mac, you’ll see the spinning wheel of death (as I refer to the rainbow pinwheel), but not a complete crash. Some links will point you to CrashChrome.com instead of CrashSafari, which will cause Chrome to crash on any device you use (including Android), but it won’t cause a reboot.
The prank went viral on Twitter on Monday morning, and many users panicked that their iPhones were vulnerable to attack after rebooting. The problem was noticed and explained by security researcher Mikko Hypponen.
Right now, lots of jokers are posting shortlinks to ‘crashsafari․com’. The link will reboot your iPhone. Watch out. pic.twitter.com/3mZby5Xpo2— Mikko Hypponen (@mikko) January 25, 2016
According to The Guardian, the code works by bogging your browser down with a string of characters that grows longer and longer. As the browser continues to try to load the site, it gives up and crashes.
The website is annoying, and anyone who sends you this link is a jerk. But it won’t install any malware on your device, or do anything more serious than cause your iPhone to reboot. But still, tons of people are being fooled by this link:
That’s 93,025 iOS devices… and counting.— News from the Lab (@FSLabs) January 25, 2016
Don’t let this be you.