Janet Jackson Song Gets Security Listing As it May Cause Laptop HDDs to Crash!

I would freely concede that I have a somewhat unusual, and dare I say, unique taste in music. – It is, in fact so eclectic that if the storage devices on my PC or laptop had a personality, they might voluntarily choose to stop working so they wouldn’t have to harbour/tolerate such things being placed and/or played upon them (Oh, and here’s the track I have playing while I write this just in case you don’t believe me!).

Following a report via ZDNet, however, it seems that one particular Janet Jackson song might literally be genuinely harmful to your laptop HDD. – Yes, a song may actually cause your storage device to crash and maybe even potentially break entirely!

A Janet Jackson Song Can Ruin a Laptop’s HDD?!

Firstly, no. This isn’t some kind of fever dream I had last night! – Following the official registration of a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) report, it has been found that a very particular song from Janet Jackson (Rhythm Nation) can cause a very specific laptop HDD to potentially crash. – And just in case you don’t believe me, here’s the official website for it!

How on Earth can a song cause an HDD to potentially crash though? Well, it’s nothing to do with the data itself or any kind of malicious pirated copy floating around the internet. It is, instead, something to do with the music itself. Namely, the song uses certain harmonic frequencies which seemingly match up with a very particular laptop HDD model. – In other words, the music is effectively causing the HDD to vibrate itself into a technological brain fart!

“A certain 5400 RPM OEM hard drive, as shipped with laptop PCs in approximately 2005, allows physically proximate attackers to cause a denial of service (device malfunction and system crash) via a resonant-frequency attack with the audio signal from the Rhythm Nation music video.”

In the presumption that you don’t know Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation by the way (because it is rather old), I’ve embedded it in below). – Any playing of this, and particularly within proximity to any circa 2005 laptop, however, comes entirely at your own risk! And if you do this deliberately and get a result, well… Congratulations I guess!

Which HDDs?

We should note that it does appear that this issue is only present within one singular make and model of HDD storage device. As noted above, it is a laptop design, and more so, a very specific HDD that runs at 5,200 RPM. Beyond that, however, nothing has been given in regards to exactly which one is it!

There are completely unsubstantiated rumours that the manufacturer might be Western Digital. Even if it is though, getting a harmonic resonance match between an HDD and a song is almost a million-to-one chance. So, just in case it needed to be said, they wouldn’t have any real blame in this matter unless someone at WD really hated Ms Jackson.

The bottom line though is that if you enjoy the works of Janet Jackson, and particularly so ‘Rhythm Nation’, just try and keep it away from circa 15-year-old laptops!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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