A perceived bug in an Nvidia driver was discovered last weekend when a user trying to play Diablo III was instead greeted with a loading screen showing the porn he viewed hours earlier. It was originally believed to be a problem with GPU memory not being erased before being handed off to another application, although Nvidia has said that the issue isn’t with its drivers; instead, the company is blaming Apple for everything.
University of Toronto student Evan Andersen discovered the problem when he attempted to start Diablo III and was greeted an image of his Chrome browser displaying a pornographic site he had visited earlier. In most cases, the display should have gone blank as the GPU memory should have been erased before being returned to the pool. Here, the memory turned over still contained the data from his browser; which was kicked over to the display.
Andersen managed to reproduce the bug, and called up a Reddit page that was displayed using a separate user account. It turns out that he isn’t the only one who experienced the problem, as other Reddit users later reported seeing the same thing.
The real problem is that Andersen claims to have submitted the bug report to both Nvidia and Google two years ago. He delayed talking about it in public to give the companies time to resolve the problem, although neither seems to have done anything about it.
Nvidia spokesperson informed Venturebeat on why it hasn’t taken action. “This issue is related to memory management in the Apple OS, not NVIDIA graphics drivers. The NVIDIA driver adheres to policies set by the operating system and our driver is working as expected. We have not seen this issue on Windows, where all application-specific data is cleared before memory is released to other applications.”
Essentially, the GPU manufacturer is blaming Apple for the problem. Interestingly, some Reddit users are reporting seeing the same problem with Apple computers running on AMD GPUs; which lends credence to the accusation. Apple has not made a comment on the issue.
The memory leak isn’t entirely that dangerous, although it could potentially be a security risk. Users could accidentally be exposed to information from other users sharing the same computer, although it is difficult to say how damaging this is.