RealNetworks Fixes Security Holes

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-10-05 Print this article Print

A flaw in the RealPlayer software allows malicious media files to run arbitrary code.

RealNetworks Inc. has patched security vulnerabilities in several versions of the RealPlayer client software. According to an advisory on the companys Web site, the patches address three vulnerabilities in RealPlayer and the RealOne Player for Windows, Mac and Linux. RealNetworks recommends that users apply the updates through links on the advisory page. Real clients for handheld devices, specifically Symbian, Palm and Nokia Series 60, are not affected.

The most serious of the flaws affects only Windows versions of the player. This issue appears to have been reported to RealNetworks by eEye Digital Security, a security consulting firm with a history of finding serious security issues in Windows. This new problem resembles in many ways an earlier problem reported to RealNetworks by eEye. This problem would allow a malicious Web page to potentially execute arbitrary code in the context of the user running the player.

Another exploit also could allow the execution of arbitrary code through the use of a malicious .RM file executed from a local hard drive. The Mac and Linux versions are also vulnerable to this flaw. A third vulnerability, which affects only Windows users, allows a malicious Web page and media file to delete a file on the users system if the path of the file is known.

RealNetworks says in the advisory that they are aware of no exploits of the reported problems.

Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

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Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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