As if the recent attack by the WannaCry ransomware worm wasn't enough to convince people to patch and upgrade, PCWorld reports that it only takes four characters to crash Windows 7 or 8. Apparently, just visiting a website can cause problems for Windows 7, 8 and Vista, but not Windows 10. All the website has to do is have the characters '$MFT' in the directory name where a website keeps its images. Windows expects to see those characters used for a special file. Specifically, the $MFT is the Master File Table and contains critical information about each and every file in a NTFS file system. We use the Master File Table quite extensively for our digital forensics investigations.
When Windows sees those characters in a directory name, the machine begins to bog down and eventually hangs. Of course there is also the possibility of experiencing a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). It is unknown if Microsoft will issue a patch for this, but we know that Vista isn't going to get one since it is no longer supported. The sure fire solution is to upgrade to Windows 10, which isn't impacted by the bug.
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Digital Forensics/Information Security/Information Technology