Embarrassing Chrome bug caused by “Apple OS… not Nvidia,” says Nvidia
The error was thought to be caused by a flaw in Nvidia’s GPU drivers, but the company said that OS X is at fault, rather than its own software.
“This issue is related to memory management in the Apple OS,” a spokesperson said, “not Nvidia graphics drivers.”
“The Nvidia driver adheres to policies set by the operating system and our driver is working as expected.”
He added: “We have not seen this issue on Windows, where all application-specific data is cleared before memory is released to other applications.”
The flaw was discovered by a developer called Evan Andersen, whose Diablo III loading page was replaced by a screenshot of a porn page he had visited earlier in Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode.
He blamed a problem in the GPU memory management, saying: “When the Chrome Incognito window was closed, its framebuffer was added to the pool of free GPU memory, but it was not erased.”
IT Pro has approached Apple for comment, but had received none at the time of publication.
11/01/2016: Google Chrome Incognito bug “replaces loading screen with porn”
Google Chrome could end up displaying porn, thanks to a GPU bug reportedly affecting Nvidia and ATI graphics cards.
The error, discovered by developer Evan Andersen, turned what should have been a blank loading screen into a screenshot of a porn page he had visited earlier within Chrome Incognito.
The problem apparently stemmed from an issue in GPU memory management. “When the Chrome Incognito window was closed, its framebuffer was added to the pool of free GPU memory,” Andersen wrote, “but it was not erased.”
This meant that when he opened Diablo III, the framebuffer requested by the game contained the graphics data from the previous session – in this case, a YouPorn window.
As well as being quite embarrassing, this bug has privacy implications, because users of shared computers can potentially see visual data from other users’ sessions by accident, possibly including sensitive information.
“In the interest of reproducing the bug,” said Andersen. “I wrote a program to scan GPU memory for non-zero pixels. It was able to reproduce a Reddit page I had closed on another user account a few minutes ago, pixel-perfect.”
Andersen tested the bug on an Nvidia GPU, but similar problems have been reported on ATI models.
Both Google and Nvidia are reportedly aware of the issue, after Andersen first reached out to report the problem two years ago.
While Nvidia reportedly acknowledged the problem, it took no steps to fix it, Andersen said, while Google told the developer that it will not fix it, because hiding web activity from other PC users is not within Incognito mode’s stated functions.
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