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Windows Media Player Buffer Overflow in ASF File Processing Lets Malicious Media Files Execute Arbitrary Code on a User's PC
SecurityTracker Alert ID: 1002775|
SecurityTracker URL: http://securitytracker.com/id/1002775
(Links to External Site)
Date: Nov 20 2001
Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network|
Fix Available: Yes Vendor Confirmed: Yes |
Version(s): Windows Media Player 6.4, 7, and 7.1; Windows Media Player for Windows XP|
Microsoft reported a buffer overflow vulnerability in their Windows Media Player. A malicious Advanced Streaming Format (ASF) media file could execute arbitrary code on a user's host when the user plays the file.|
Microsoft reports that a remote user could create a specially malformed ASF file and induce a user to play the file, triggering the buffer overflow and crashing or executing arbitrary code. According to the vendor, the user must explicity play the file. The exact nature of the flaw was not disclosed.
A malicious ASF media file could execute arbitrary code on a user's host when the user plays the file. This could give the author of the malicious code access to the user's host.|
The vendor has released a patch. The Windows Media Player 6.4, 7, or 7.1 patch is available at: http://download.microsoft.com/download/winmediaplayer/Update/308567/WIN98MeXP/EN-US/wm308567.exe|
The Windows Media Player for Windows XP patch is available at:
The patch can be installed on any operating system running Windows Media Player 6.4, 7.0, or 7.1. The vendor reportedly plans to include the fix for this issue in Windows 2000 Service Pack 3.
This patch supersedes all previously released patches for Windows Media 6.4 patches, including the patches from MS01-042, MS01-029, and MS00-090. Microsoft notes that the patch provided in MS01-029 contained fixes for both a security and privacy issue, but that only the security fix in MS01-029 is superseded by this patch.
Vendor URL: www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS01-056.asp (Links to External Site)
|Underlying OS: Windows (Me), Windows (NT), Windows (95), Windows (98), Windows (2000), Windows (XP)|
Source Message Contents
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 17:42:03 -0800|
Subject: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-056
The following is a Security Bulletin from the Microsoft Product Security
Please do not reply to this message, as it was sent from an unattended
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Title: Windows Media Player .ASF Processor Contains Unchecked
Date: 20 November 2001
Software: Windows Media Player
Impact: Run code of attacker's choice
Max Risk: Critical
Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletin at:
One of the streaming media formats supported by Windows Media
Player is Advanced Streaming Format (ASF). A security vulnerability
occurs in Windows Media Player 6.4 because the code that processes
ASF files contains an unchecked buffer.
By creating a specially malformed ASF file and inducing a user to
play it, an attacker could overrun the buffer, with either of two
results: in the simplest case, Windows Media Player 6.4 would fail;
in the more complex case, code chosen by the attacker could be made
to run on the user's computer, with the privileges of the user.
The scope of this vulnerability is rather limited. It affects only
Windows Media Player 6.4, and can only be exploited by the user
opening and deliberately playing an ASF file. There is no
capability to exploit this vulnerability via email or a web page.
However, the patch eliminates additional vulnerabilities.
Specifically, it eliminates all known vulnerabilities affecting
Windows Media Player 6.4 - discussed in Microsoft Security
Bulletins MS00-090, MS01-029, and MS01-042 - as well as some
additional variants of these vulnerabilities that were discovered
internally by Microsoft. Some of these vulnerabilities could be
exploited via email or a web page. In addition, some affect
components of Windows Media Player 6.4 that, for purposes of
backward compatibility, ship with Windows Media Player 7, and
7.1. We therefore recommend that customers running any of these
versions of Windows Media Player apply the patch to ensure that
they are fully protected against all known vulnerabilities.
Windows Media Player for Windows XP includes components of
Windows Media Player 6.4, but they are not affected by the ASF
buffer overrun or by any of the other vulnerabilities discussed
in the security bulletins listed above. However, the version 6.4
components that ship with Windows Media Player for Windows XP are
affected by some of the newly discovered variants of these
vulnerabilities. Rather than installing this patch, however, we
recommend that customers install the 25 October 2001 Critical
Update for Windows XP.
- Windows Media Player runs in the security context of the user,
rather than as a system component. At best, an attacker could
gain the privileges of the user on the system. Systems
configured in accordance with the least privilege principal
would be at less risk from this vulnerability.
- The vulnerability could only be exploited if the user opened
and played an affected ASF file.
- The attacker would need to know the specific operating system
that the user was running in order to tailor the attack code
properly; if the attacker made an incorrect guess about the user's
operating system platform, the attack would crash the user's
Windows Media Player session, but not run code of the attacker's
- Internet systems: Critical
- Intranet systems: Critical
- Client systems: Critical
- A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the
Security Bulletin at
for information on obtaining this patch.
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