Pranksters are out in full force and are targeting iPhone and Mac users. Links are being sent to users that direct them to a prank site known as crashsafari.com, which then causes iPhones and iPads to reboot.
How it works
The prank site contains code that causes a never-ending string of characters within the address bar. As the string continues to grow, the browser will struggle to load it, thus causing a memory issue.
If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, those devices will heat up as they try to handle the code, and they will eventually reboot due to exhaustion. It takes about 20 seconds from when the site first loads to when the reboot takes place. Mac users will end up with Safari crashing, but won’t suffer an automatic reboot.
The prank site even affects Chrome users on Android, PCs, and Macs, as they will become very sluggish as Chrome attempts to load the code. Users will be forced to initiate a reboot in order to stop it.
iPhone users were already a victim of something similar last May when a text message bug would lock users out of the Messaging app or crash the phone. The main difference was that a particular string of characters caused that issue, not a website link.
How to defend yourself
We would love to be able to tell you that all you need to do is make sure you don’t click a link that goes to crashsafari.com, but unfortunately pranksters can disguise the link with URL shorteners, so you won’t know until it’s too late.
The best thing to do is to refrain from clicking on links from anyone you don’t know, especially if they are shortened. If someone you don’t follow mentions you on Twitter with a link you need to check out, it’s probably not going to be anything that you “need” to check out. Just remember, these links can come from anywhere, whether it be a text message, an email, or social media.
If you do click on a link and it ends up at crashsafari.com, then go ahead an reboot right away because there is no trick that will stop the code from loading.
The good news is that if you do fall victim to this prank, it appears that nothing harmful will come of it. Your iPhone or iPad will reboot and go back to normal, and nothing malicious has been reported up to this point. However, we will update this post immediately if that changes.