WinAmp security hole deepens

A serious security flaw reported last week in WinAmp is still unpatched, contrary to the vendor's assurances, according to the researcher who discovered the vulnerability. What's more, exploit code taking advantage of the flaw has begun circulating on the Internet, making attacks simpler to carry out, said security experts.

"It appears that the 'patched' version 5.05 does not fix the buffer overflow issue that we notified Nullsoft about," said Brett Moore, chief technical officer of, in an email to the Bugtraq security mailing list on Wednesday. "We have sent Nullsoft a copy of this email, and hope that they can remedy this problem quickly." Nullsoft did not immediately respond to Techworld's request for comment.

The bug, a boundary error in the "IN_CDDA.dll" file, is the latest in a string of serious vulnerabilities in WinAmp, including an August flaw in the handling of "skin" files which attackers began to exploit before it had been discovered by researchers. The new bug, the skin file flaw and an April flaw in the handling of ".xm" files could all be exploited by luring an affected user to a website containing a specific type of file, which would then be automatically downloaded and executed.

This week's bug can be exploited in a number of ways, the most dangerous being via an ".m3u" playlist file, according to Moore. "When hosted on a website, these files will be automatically downloaded and opened in winamp without any user interaction," he wrote in's advisory. "This is enough to cause the overflow that would allow a malicious playlist to overwrite EIP and execute arbitrary code." Exploitation could allow an attacker to take over a system.

Moore recommended that in the absence of a patch, users disassociate the filename extensions for playlists - .cda and .m3u - from WinAmp.

Moore noted that WinAmp had released the patched WinAmp last week, without initially notifying When Moore asked about the new WinAmp, the vendor responded: "The problem was fixed in the latest release of WinAmp. Version 5.06 went live on the site last Thurday."

On Thursday, Danish security firm Secunia escalated the flaw to "extremely critical", its most serious rating, saying that exploit code has become available. IT managers might want to be particularly wary of attacks as the US' four-day Thanksgiving weekend began on Thursday, traditionally an active time for programming enthusiasts and bored teenaged hackers.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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?