This Windows 7 Bug Will Let Any Website Crash Your PC


The recent ransomware attacks have brought old versions of Windows back under scrutiny in the hope that bugs and flaws can be patched before they become a problem. That means researchers are going back and finding all sorts of weird problems, including a particularly bizarre one discovered in Windows 7. It turns out any website can crash your computer with four simple characters.

The characters, $MFT, will be familiar to people who fiddle with metadata on old computers; it’s what Microsoft uses to designate a specific metadata file on your PC. Just having them appear on a site isn’t a problem, but if a website puts this cursed code on the directory name of its image folder, your computer won’t find the data it’s looking for, and it’ll keep looking, slowing to a crawl before locking up completely.

While this is a rare (and fairly ridiculous) problem, its discovery raises the issue of what else might be lurking in these old machines. As of February, according to Microsoft, just under 40% of Windows users were still running 7. Considering there are approximately a billion Windows users out there, and that this probably doesn’t include unlicensed and pirated versions, that’s a lot of people facing down a bad day thanks to one website.

(Via PC World)