Here’s how the story goes: If you played Janet Jackson’s 1989 hit song Rhythm Nation next to certain laptops made around 2005, their hard drives would crash. 

That’s according to Microsoft developer Raymond Chen, who in a blog post recalled a story told to him by a colleague: that an unnamed major computer manufacturer discovered Jackson’s song crashed its laptops. And then competitors’ laptops. 

What was happening? Apparently, Jackson’s song contains one of the “natural resonant frequencies” used by the hard drives of those laptops — and hearing the same frequencies messed them up enough to crash. Chen didn’t specify which hard drives, except to say they operated at 5,400 RPM, nor which brands and models of laptop used them.

But he did recall how the manufacturer fixed the issue: adding a custom audio filter that detected the frequencies and removed them from any sound emitted from the speakers. 

Chen didn’t provide any other evidence that this happened, and though the vulnerability was given a CVE ID by The Mitre Corporation of CVE-2022-38392, it just links back to Chen’s blog post as a source. If the vulnerability did exist, it would be hard to replicate now, unless you went hunting for circa-2005 laptop hard drives to serenade with Jackson’s hit song.