If you’re on a Mac, and use Chrome, and if you’re not sure if you have Assyrian turned on, definitely don’t click this link. Just doing so could cause your whole browser to crash, and the culprit is a 13-character snippet that couldn’t seem any more innocuous.
The bug is super-obscure. It only occurs if you’re running Chrome on Mac — nothing happens in Safari, Firefox or any other browser. However, if you are running Chrome, these 13 characters will crash your tab (don’t worry, we’re just using a screengrab):
Here’s the amusing bug report, straight from Chrome’s own developer repository:
What steps will reproduce the problem?
1. Any page with [Removed so this article loads for everyone] will crash the Chrome tab on a Mac
2. Just create any dummy page with the unicode characters, and the Mac Chrome tab will crash hard
What is the expected result?
Expect it not to crash
What happens instead?
If you don’t have Assyrian language files installed, the bug doesn’t seem to work. Instead, it will show 13 blank rectangles instead of the tab crashing: ▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯.
Nevertheless, this is a serious exploit. As the developer who discovered it notes, “You could imagine someone spamming this message in Hangouts/Gmail and just straight-up force crashing all Mac Chrome browsers. Someone could post this on Facebook, and force-crash all Mac Chrome browsers that saw it.”
Expect Google to fix this Chrome bug soon, hopefully sooner rather than later.