Zune Leap Year bug under the microscope

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

More information about the non-virus problem which hung 30GB Zune MP3 players on New Year’s Eve has been uncovered.

It turns out that the problem is actually on the clock chip from Freescale embedded inside Microsoft’s music device.

As you can see in this post from the Zune Boards message forum, there is a flaw in the programming logic which means that when the Zune accesses its clock as it finishes booting up, it tries to convert the time from its internal count (the number of days since 1st January 1980) into a more human readable form.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course, unless the logic of the code is wrong and it enters into an infinite loop if it happens to be the 366th day of the year.

By now, everyone’s Zune should be working…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

Found this article interesting? Follow Graham Cluley on Twitter, Mastodon, or Threads to read more of the exclusive content we post.

Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.