A computer can be brought to its knees just by a song? This is indeed the case with one song by Janet Jackson – it has now been officially declared a safety issue.
In 1995, Michael and Janet Jackson spent around $7 million producing the music video for their single “Scream.” Pretty expensive fun that earned the siblings first place in the ranking of the world’s most expensive music videos.
For fans of Janet Jackson, however, a very different song could turn into expensive fun. As the programmer and Windows expert Raymon Chen reports, there is exactly one song by Janet Jackson that can crash computers.
How can a song by Janet Jackson attack computers?
It is the song “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson from the late 80’s. And that very song can “crash certain laptop models,” as Chen writes.
He heard about this story from a colleague in Windows XP product support. Accordingly, a “large computer manufacturer” discovered this phenomenon.
It also came to light that Janet Jackson’s song doesn’t just wreck the laptop it’s played on. Computers that are nearby and can listen, so to speak, are also affected by the phenomenon.
What is the cause of the crashes?
Once discovered, Rhythm Nation’s superpower is easily explained. Because the song contains a natural resonance frequency that interferes with the respective hard disks.
In plain language, this means that both the song and the laptop generate a certain vibration. If these are too similar, they can react with each other and thus reinforce each other.
But not all hard drive models should be affected. Because it only affects laptops that contain hard drives with 5400 rpm.
What protection is there?
Chen further reports that the unnamed manufacturer was able to circumvent the problem with a custom filter. This can be used to detect and remove interfering frequencies during audio playback.
Janet Jackson’s song was also added to the CVE database. Here “Rhythm Nation” is now officially listed as a potential security issue.