“Link Of Death” Is Back — How To Crash A Windows Computer With Newly Found Bug?


Short Bytes: Similar to 2015’s link of death bug in Chrome, a Windows bug has been unveiled. This bug affects NTFS filesystem and allows a malicious website to try and load images with special filenames like $MFT to crash your system. This bug affects Windows Vista, 7, and 8.1. Microsoft has been informed about this bug.

Back in 2015, we told you about the “link of death” bug that crashed Chrome web browser. This was due to a 26 or 30 character URL string that added a null character, leading to crash. Chrome ultimately fixed the issue. If you’re having even longer memory, you might be remembering similar computer crashing bugs from Windows 95 and 98 era.

According to a new reveal, a similar kind of bug affects Windows Vista, 7, and 8.1, reports Ars Technica. This bug can help a notorious player use certain bad filenames to make the system lock up or crash it with a blue screen of death.

This can be done by embedding such filenames by using them as image sources. Let’s suppose you visit a page with such image, your PC will hang and crash.

Why does this crash happen?

Windows has some filenames that are reserved for hardware devices; they don’t represent any actual file. As Ars Technica reports, a filename including two references to a special device would crash Windows. For example, c:\con\con. If this file is attempted to be loaded from file:///c:/con/con, then the machine would crash.

This bug also uses another special filename $MFT. This is the filename given to a special metadata file that’s used by NTFS filesystem. But, if $MFT is used like a directory name, for e.g., trying to open the file c:\$MFT\123, then machine hangs.

You can read more about the vulnerability here. This page is in Russian, so don’t forget to hit the translate button.

Fortunately, this bug doesn’t affect Windows 10. It has been reported to Microsoft, and we don’t know when a fix will be delivered.

Did you find this story on Windows Link Of Death interesting? Don’t forget to share your views.

Also Read: 10 Best Free Antivirus Software Of 2017
Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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