Windows Media Player holes could expose PC

A flaw in an antipiracy feature in Microsoft's Windows Media Player could put systems at risk to hacker attacks, Microsoft warned in a security bulletin Wednesday.

All the currently supported versions of Windows Media Player, versions 6.4, 7.1 and Windows Media Player for Windows XP, are flawed in the way they handle a license request for certain secure media files. An attacker could exploit this flaw to hijack a user's system and take any action a user is capable of, Microsoft said.

The media player, when it requests license information from a server, erroneously discloses the location on the user's system of the Internet Explorer (IE) cache, which is used by IE to temporarily store files. An attacker could use this information to bypass IE's security mechanisms and run executable files in the cache, Microsoft said.

IE places information that a Web page or an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) e-mail need to have stored on the user's system -- a file for example -- in the cache and retrieves it later for handling. One way the cache is protected against direct access is by using dynamic folder names. The cache should only be accessible by IE, Microsoft said.

An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by sending an HTML e-mail with a specially formed Windows Media file or by hosting the file on a Web site. In both cases, the IE cache location could be returned to the attacker's site once the file is played, at which point the attacker could try to run an executable in the cache, Microsoft said.

Microsoft released a software patch to fix this problem. The patch, called a cumulative patch, also includes all previously released patches for Windows Media Player and two other new patches that fix less broad security problems.

Microsoft does rate a newly patched privilege elevation vulnerability in Windows Media Player 7.1 when run on Windows 2000 "critical." A malicious user could exploit the flaw in a part of Media Player that deals with storage devices to increase his privilege level on a Windows 2000 system. The user would need to write a special software program to do that, Microsoft said.

The third newly patched vulnerability could allow an attacker to run a script of his choice on the user's computer and affects only Windows Media Player 7.1. Microsoft deems this a "low" risk vulnerability as a successful attack requires a specific series of user actions to follow in exact order.

More information about the flaws and the patch, which Microsoft urges users apply immediately, can be found at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS02-032.asp

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?