11 characters that totally incapacitate computers

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:|:& };:

There’s no way that any old user could type that in a command prompt to crash any computer anywhere, without even having admin rights…right?!?


Turns out this exploit really does work and really has been known for…more than my entire lifetime.
It’s called a Fork Bomb.

Here’s a neat video from YouTuber Dave’s Garage where Dave explains fork bombs, what they are, how they work, the damage they can do, and why they’re called fork bombs. Fortunately, he also explains which machines can be easily protected against fork bombs, and which ones can’t (did you guess Windows, boys and girls?).

For those impatient for him to get to the logic here (which starts at about 6:45), it’s basically this:
Define a function as itself in parallel with itself, then call that function.
Each iteration causes two new instances of this process, which in a second or two will totally devour any CPU available on any Window, Mac, or Linux based device.

Use this to watch the magic smoke escape from your machine ;)
In other words, don’t ever do this!

Like really, it’s bad.
It’s like a nuclear chain reaction for your computer.
And most computers in the world are defenseless against the resulting blast.

Feel better now? You’re welcome. Feel free to comment below about how we humans and our technology are so smart.

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