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Hacker posts QuickTime zero-day attack code

Exploit public just a week after Apple fixes nine other bugs

September 17, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - A hacker has released attack code that exploits an unpatched vulnerability in Apple Inc.'s QuickTime, just a week after the company updated the media player to plug nine other serious vulnerabilities, a security researcher said today.

The exploit, which was published on the milw0rm.com site Tuesday, takes advantage of a flaw in the "<? quicktime type= ?>" parameter in QuickTime, which is not prepared to handle excessively-long strings, said Aaron Adams, a researcher with Symantec Corp.'s DeepSight threat notification network.

"Symantec is currently investigating this flaw further to determine the underlying technical details," said Adams in a research note today.

In its present form, the exploit triggers a QuickTime crash, but it may be more serious. "The exploit suggests that code execution may be possible," Adams added, "[and] if this flaw were to allow arbitrary code to run, it may pose a significant risk, because attackers may be able to exploit the issue by embedding a malicious file into a site."

The anonymous hacker who posted the attack code was just as uncertain as Symantec of the exploit's power. "Code execution may be possible," the milw0rm.com entry read.

Adams had little advice for users beyond urging them to be wary while browsing and to consider disabling the QuickTime plug-in, which is commonly found on Windows machines and installed by default on all Macs.

Last week, Apple updated QuickTime to 7.5.5 to patch nine other vulnerabilities, eight of which were tagged with the "arbitrary code execution" phrase that Apple uses to describe the most serious threats.

Apple has updated the player five times since the beginning of this year, and fixed more than 30 flaws in the process.

Read more about Malware and Vulnerabilities in Computerworld's Malware and Vulnerabilities Topic Center.



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