A researcher has shown that a low-risk, year-old QuickTime bug can easily be turned into a high-risk attack on Firefox, Internet Explorer, Skype and other programs.
The researcher, Petko D. Petkov—aka pdp—on Sept. 12 posted proof-of-concept code showing how QuickTime media formats can be used to get into Firefox, leading to full browser compromise and perhaps even to compromise of the underlying operating system. QuickTime comes by default with iTunes, Petkov noted. "Therefore, iTunes users are most affected," he said.
Click here to read more about how QuickTime movies are a vector for system hijacks.
In December 2006, he pointed out that a semi-automatic worm that hit MySpace was propagating via the same QuickTime flaw.
Although users can only get to the audio and video formats, malicious code can be pasted into files with an extension list of extensions: .3g2, .3gp, .3gp2, .3gpp, .amr, .aac, .adts, .aif, .aifc, .aiff, .amc, .au, .avi, .bwf, .caf, .cdda, .cel, .flc, .fli, .gsm, .m15, .m1a, .m1s, .m1v, .m2a, .m4a, .m4b, .m4p, .m4v, .m75, .mac, .mov, .mp2, .mp3, .mp4, .mpa, .mpeg, .mpg, .mpm, .mpv, .mqv, .pct, .pic, .pict, .png, .pnt, .pntg, .qcp, .qt, .qti, .qtif, .rgb, .rts, .rtsp, .sdp, .sdv, .sgi, .snd, .ulw, .vfw, .wav and others, Petkov said.
The exploit then gives an attacker the ability to do anything with the browser, he said, including installing backdoors, or grants access to the operating system if the victim is running with administrative privileges.
"The first method is a lot faster and more transparent to the user," he said, but its only Firefox-specific. The technique used for Petkovs proof of concept can be applied to Internet Explorer, Skype and any other application that has protocol handlers associated with the underlying system, he told eWEEK.
Mozillas security chief Window Snyder wrote in a post later in the evening Sept. 12 that "Mozilla is working with Apple to keep our users safe and we are also investigating ways to mitigate this more broadly in Firefox."
A spokesperson for Apple said the company had no response for this vulnerability but said, "Apple takes security very seriously and has a great track record of addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can affect users."
Editors Note: This story was updated to include additional information and comments from Petkov, as well as a comment from an Apple spokesperson.
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