Typing Secret Word Will Kill Almost Any App in Apple's OS X Mountain Lion
February 4, 2013 6:38 AM
"It just works." --Apple
While Microsoft Corp. (
) has received much admonishment for its various Windows bugs over the years, it is a dramatic new bug from the brash challenger of the the operating system world, Apple, Inc.'s (
OS X Mountain Lion
(10.8.2), which has people talking. The bug is startling simple, but it can crash almost any OS X app. All you have to do is type a word and a few characters.
I. Universal Crashes
The forbidden word is "File:///" (case sensitive). Type that in virtual any text input form (be it a notepad, a browser dialogue, a document editor, a calendar appointment, etc.) and the program will die. It appears that similar strings ("fILE:///" or "FILE://aa") can also trigger program crahes. In a bizarre twist, some crashes appear to be dependent on how fast you type certain variants (e.g. "File://" followed by characters). An
user named "Jonathan" shares a movie he made documenting that bizarre behavior
Among the programs confirmed to be infected are Tweetbot, Safari, Chrome, and TextEdit. The program appears to be tied somehow to some sort of deep-rooted API embedded into OS X (it appears not to be the spell-check API as the Safari location bar has no spell check, but is still affected).
In a particularly hilarious (or awful) failure, typing the problem string into Apple's Crash Reporter UI crashes the Crash Reporter.
Mountain Lion has a big bug. [Image Source: HD Wallpapers]
The bug does not affect OS X Lion (10.7) or Snow Leopard (10.6).
II. A Partial Fix?
A handful of apps, such as the image-editor Gimp, appear to be immune, perhaps because they disable whatever the trouble-making interface is. Typing the string in these apps will produce no crash.
Some users suggest that going to System Preferences > Language & Text > Text, and unchecking "Correct spelling automatically" and "Use symbol and text substitution" will stop the crashes in some apps. However, commenters say the apps continue in some programs even after doing that.
One loyal Apple user comments on the bug report:
This is actually a feature. It allows you to shut down all applications before shutting down your Mac:
Crashes Finder if typed into a Finder search field (not Spotlight, though). Crashes Safari if typed into the URL bar. Crashes Mail if typed into the search field. Crashes iTunes when typed into the search field. Crashes system-generated keychain unlock prompts (typed into the "Name:" field) Crashes Reminders if typed into the search field. ...
For now the bug is merely "interesting", but it also represents a potential security flaw. If malicious users start to use it in forms-based attacks, it could become a major headache for OS X users.
Apple for years marketed its products under the slogan "It just works", but has been
plagued with software issues
of late. Some blame Tim Cook, Apple's new CEO who replaced the late Steve Jobs, for the slipping quality. Apple's
iOS maps woes
drew a large amount of national news coverage late last year. Tim Cook
publicly apologized to his company's fans
for the poor showing.
We confirmed that the bug crashes both Safari and Searchlight. For us the Crash Reporter did not come up even:
...about to crash!
The shell/terminal program in OS X appears to be immune to the crashes:
We'll update if a patch lands.
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
Quick Note: Apple Explains iPhone 5's Jimi Hendrix Effect
October 8, 2012, 9:54 PM
Apple CEO Tim Cook Apologizes for iOS 6 Maps Fiasco; Tells Customers to Use Bing, Google
September 28, 2012, 9:11 AM
Motorola Pokes Fun at Apple iOS 6 Users' Maps Misery
September 24, 2012, 1:00 PM
Apple Releases OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" for $20
July 25, 2012, 11:29 AM
WhatsUp with WhatsApp?
August 29, 2016, 5:23 AM
Fuchsia – Google’s New Open Source Operating System
August 17, 2016, 6:30 AM
Windows 10: End of an Era & A New Beginning
August 1, 2016, 9:59 AM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Quick Note: Whoops, Microsoft Pushed Unwanted Windows 10 to Some Users
October 15, 2015, 9:04 PM
Quick Note: Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10565 Fixes Boot Camp 6.0 Issues
October 13, 2015, 11:39 AM
Most Popular Articles
Car Insurance - The Hidden Discriminatory Practise
October 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
Is Razer Blade Stealth Laptop For You?
October 16, 2016, 5:00 AM
Cyber Hackers Threaten Security of Lifesaving Medical Devices
October 19, 2016, 8:09 AM
Excellent Wi-Fi Camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300K
October 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
Problems with Windows 10 – Update Now
October 15, 2016, 7:30 AM
Latest Blog Posts
MacBoo Pro 2016: Release date Oct. 27
Oct 24, 2016, 7:16 AM
Mac Users, Try this if Your Mac is Infected?
Oct 23, 2016, 7:00 AM
Tips to Prevent Smartphones From Overheating:
Oct 22, 2016, 5:00 AM
Nasa Flies Drones at Nevada Airport
Oct 21, 2016, 8:21 AM
T-Mobile Data Problems
Oct 20, 2016, 10:17 AM
Annoying Apple Watch Problems and How to Fix Them
Oct 20, 2016, 5:00 AM
Your Mail May Soon Be Delivered By Robot
Oct 19, 2016, 9:34 AM
2018 Jeep Wrangler Prototype Sells At Junkyard
Oct 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
Samsung Shines with Gold Edition Tablet
Oct 17, 2016, 9:24 AM
Tesla Hints Mysterious Product Debut for October 17th
Oct 16, 2016, 10:14 AM
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones on US flights
Oct 15, 2016, 5:00 AM
Comcast Fined $2.3 Million For Unconfirmed Services Charged To Customers
Oct 14, 2016, 5:00 AM
“American singer / songwriter “Bob Dylan is awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Oct 13, 2016, 10:33 AM
Battery Defect in Medical Device
Oct 12, 2016, 5:00 AM
IBM Bolsters Social Services Sector With Technology Grants
Oct 11, 2016, 5:00 AM
Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate but US Still Toys With Skepticism
Oct 10, 2016, 5:00 AM
IMEX America Trade Show
Oct 9, 2016, 10:00 AM
Phone Wars – Google VS Samsung Free Gifts on Purchase
Oct 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information