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Category:   Application (Multimedia)  >   RealOne (RealPlayer) Vendors:   RealNetworks
RealPlayer Buffer Overflow in Processing URLs With Many Period Characters Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Code
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1010468
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2004-0550   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  Jun 15 2004
Original Entry Date:  Jun 11 2004
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): RealPlayer 8 (all languages), RealPlayer 10 (English, German and Japanese), RealPlayer Enterprise (all versions, standalone and
Description:   iDEFENSE reported a buffer overflow in RealPlayer in the processing of URLs. A remote user can execute arbitrary code on the target system.

It is reported that a remote user can create a file that includes a specially crafted URL containing a large number of period (".") characters that, when loaded by the target user, will cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target user's system. The code will run with the privileges of the target user.

One exploit method is to create a '.ram' RealPlayer file that contains the malicious URL, the report said.

The report confirms that RealPlayer 10 is affected.

Greg MacManus of iDEFENSE is credited with discovering this flaw.

The vendor was reportedly notified on May 12, 2004.

Impact:   A remote user can create a specially crafted file that, when loaded by the target user, will execute arbitrary code on the target user's system with the privileges of the target user.
Solution:   RealNetworks has issued a fix, described at:

For RealOne Player, RealOne Player v2 (all languages) and RealPlayer 10 (English, German, Japanese only), the vendor has provided the following steps to update your Player [quoted]:

1. In the Tools menu select Check for Update.
2. Select the box next to the "Security Update - June 2004" component.
3. Click Install to download and install the update.

For RealPlayer 8 (version, there is no fix. The vendor recommends that you upgrade to RealPlayer 10 as follows [quoted]:

1. Go to the Help menu.
2. Select Check for Update.
3. Select the box next to the "RealPlayer 10" (English, German, or Japanese) or "RealOne Player" (other languages) component.
4. Click Install to download and install the update.
5. Then, follow steps outlined above for RealPlayer 10 to add any additional security fixes.

For RealPlayer Enterprise Solution, the vendor indicates that you should contact your Technical Account Manager or RealNetworks Customer Support:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Boundary error
Underlying OS:  Windows (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDEFENSE Security Advisory 06.10.04: Real Networks RealPlayer URL

Real Networks RealPlayer URL Parsing Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 06.10.04
June 10, 2004


RealPlayer is an application for playing various media formats,
developed by RealNetworks Inc. For more information, visit


Remote exploitation of a buffer overflow in Version 10 of Real Networks'
RealPlayer could allow execution of arbitrary commands.

The vulnerability specifically exists in the handling of URLs with a
large number of period (".") characters. By creating a specially crafted
filename, it is possible to cause the execution of arbitrary code with
the permissions of the user that attempts to access it.


One method of exploiting this vulnerability is to place a .RAM file
(RealPlayer Presentation) containing a maliciously constructed URL on a
web server and send an e-mail to the target with a link containing the

It appears the vulnerability results from allocating an array of a fixed
size and then iterating through the URL looking for periods. As each one
is found, a pointer to it is stored in the array, and the current index
is incremented. No check seems to be done for writes to addresses
outside the array.


RealNetworks' RealPlayer 10 is confirmed vulnerable. Previous versions
of RealPlayer are also suspected to be vulnerable.


iDEFENSE is currently unaware of any effective workarounds for this

User awareness is the best defense against this class of attack. Users
should be aware of the existence of such attacks and proceed with
caution when following links from suspicious and/or unsolicited e-mail.


Real Networks recommends updating affected applications to the latest
version. Instructions for upgrading are contained in the vendor's
security advisory located at:


A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not
been assigned yet.


04/14/2004       Exploit discovered by iDEFENSE
05/12/2004       Initial vendor notification
05/12/2004       iDEFENSE clients notified
05/13/2004       Vendor response
06/10/2004       Coordinated public disclosure


Greg MacManus (iDEFENSE Labs) is credited with this discovery.

Get paid for vulnerability research


Copyright (c) 2004 iDEFENSE, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
email for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.


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