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!


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.

Matthew Broersma

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?