Hacker posts QuickTime zero-day attack code

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 Wednesday.

The exploit, which was published on the milw0rm.com site Tuesday, takes advantage of a flaw in the “” 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 Wednesday.

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.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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