Cybersecurity Insight

Uninstall QuickTime Immediately

21 Apr

QuickTime has two vulnerabilities that are easy targets for remote attackers to overrun your Windows network, according to reports from Trend Micro and the Department of Homeland Security. Trend Micro discovered both problems and reported the issue last week.

There are two pressing reasons for uninstalling QuickTime on your Windows network sooner rather than later. One is that Microsoft recently announced it will no longer send security updates to the program; and for those who have read past pieces on updating security features within frequently used programs, being proactive as quickly as possible is important. Two, and this is the doozy, Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative details the exact vulnerabilities within the program, and how they could be exploited by outside forces; it should be noted that no attacks have been announced stemming from the issues within QuickTime.

Here are the details: both unsecured entry points are known as “heap corruption remote code execution” vulnerabilities. Essentially, the program had uninitialized or stale pointers, meaning that data becomes corrupted in a heap buffer that’s allocated to another part of the program. The attacker can write data outside of this point, or if an invalid index is provided. The user would then visit a malicious web page or open a malicious file to allow the attack to proliferate.

Normally, Microsoft would send a patch to fix these QuickTime issues, but since that is not the case the only other option is to uninstall immediately. This particular attack possibility points to a number of key facts that consistently arise throughout a cyber security best practices discussion. The first is to keep up with any and all security patches – yes, the updates may take time away from pressing work assignments, but in the long run at least you’ll be able to safely and securely access those assignments. Secondly, policing your own web usage is critical. Something doesn’t seem right about a website you’re browsing? Don’t immediately trust the link you’re clicking on? Always double check before you double click, it will save you a lot of money and heartache down the road. And finally, have a cyber security protection plan in place for your business or organization – there’s enough to worry about without piling hack attacks on top of everything else.