Janet Jackson’s music video Rhythm Nation has been declared a security vulnerability by MITRE and identified as CVE-2022-38392. According to researchers, the music video freezes some models of hard drives on older computers.
It is described as a Denial of Service (DoS), specifically a side channel attack that causes hard drives on some laptop PCs from 2005 to malfunction and crash.
Raymond Chen, a Microsoft blogger, said such a phenomenon had been around for a long time.
“A colleague of mine shared a story from Windows XP product support A major computer manufacturer discovered that playing the music video for Janet Jackson’s’ Rhythm Nation ‘would crash certain models of laptops. I would not have wanted to be in the laboratory that they must have set up to investigate this problem. Not an artistic judgement,” Chen stated.
He noted that playing the music video even brought down competitors’ laptops.
Chen pointed out that the researchers identified natural resonance frequencies as the necessary reason for the crash. Resonance is a physical phenomenon in which the sound generated by an object vibrates at the same frequency as the sound waves of another object.
“Playing the music video on one laptop caused a laptop sitting nearby to crash even though that other laptop wasn’t playing the video. It turns out that the song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used,” Chen said.