Microsoft Updates Media Player to Thwart Spyware Threat

The software giant has issued a significant tweak to the way Windows Media Player handles the download of DRM-protected files.

Microsoft Corp. has released an update for its flagship Windows Media Player to protect users from a known threat of spyware infection.

Microsoft said the update (download available here) installs two components on end users computers and will add "additional integrity checks to the DRM [digital rights management] system."

The company made no mention of a spyware infection, but a spokesperson confirmed the new version of the player was released after Microsoft confirmed that malicious hackers were using the copy-protection mechanism to install spyware, adware, dialers and computer viruses on unsuspecting PC users.

Security experts had earlier warned that .wmv files were being rigged to user the anti-piracy mechanism to shuttle users to Web sites hosting malicious programs.

With the new version of Windows Media Player, Microsoft is giving users more control over when and how any pop-ups display in the license acquisition process.

The changes will also set up a mechanism for DRM license issuers to verify that each users computer has been updated before issuing or renewing licenses.

Microsoft urged users to update the Windows Media Format run-time components. ISVs are also encouraged to include the new run-time components with their applications.


Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.