The internet is the ultimate place for expressions of creativity; some funny, some annoying, some offensive and some just downright bizarre. This latest report most likely falls in that last category, but it probably depends on your way of looking at it. Earlier on Monday, reports indicated that somebody, somewhere, apparently, stumbled onto the realization that just about any internet browser on just about any computing platform can be made to crash by creating an extra long URL by just putting the numbers from 0 to 722 after the domain name, which, in this case, happens to be crashsafari.co. As evident from the name, the prank seems to be aimed at people using Apple’s Safari web browser presumably on their iOS devices and Macs, but the inordinately long URL (2083 characters) seems to defeat other widely-used bowsers such as Mozilla Firefox and its Gecko derivatives as well as Google Chrome and its WebKit derivatives on both Android-based mobile devices as well as Windows-based PCs.
On Android smartphones, both Chrome and Firefox crashed after a few seconds of trying, and the browsers, in both cases, had to be force stopped for the phone to become functional again. The only browser that seems immune to the website’s ‘charm’ is the latest version of Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1, which continues to function normally after a few seconds of stutter. What’s funny is that the website developer has a simple message on the landing page of the site for anyone who might be able to sneak in without crashing – “What were you expecting?” Indeed, when you visit the website, you know what you’re signing up for, so no complaints about crashed browsers or hanging smartphones.
Some people on social networks and internet forums seem to be wondering if it is possible for somebody to inject malicious code through such websites. While that may or may not be a possibility in theory, the source code of this particular site seems to indicate that it has probably been created just as a prank, and seeing as it has become a popular topic of discussion online, many might say the prankster has been successful in their endeavor. In fact, one of the original shortened URLs linking people to the site, seems to have been clicked 156,778 times so far. While an overwhelming number of hits seem to be coming from Safari on iPhones and iPads, Chrome and Android figure prominently as well. Leading referrers seem to be Facebook’s mobile site as well as URL shortner, t.co.