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Media Players Are Seriously Flawed

There are serious vulnerabilities in media players run on personal computers, which could enable cyber criminals to install malicious code and infect them, while the user has no knowledge of it, said David Thiel, a security consultant with researcher iSEC Partners based in San Francisco, at the Black Hat Conference. Forbes published this in news on August 2, 2007.

Hackers have found new approaches for launching attacks on computers by the method of sharing music and videos on the Internet. This sharing is today fundamental to the lifestyle of the Internet. So hackers exploit videos and audio sharing to plant malware on victims' PCs. The malware helps criminals to gain control of users' computers, while the malicious code hides in audio and video that are downloaded from MySpace, the social networking site and from YouTube, the video portal.

The attack has a relatively high potential because nobody is really bothered to actually run videos from YouTube or play music on Web pages. All this stuff is automatically launched, having a high potential impact, said Thiel.

When the different types of malicious software are injected through music or video files, there is a wide range of programs meant for the code that obeys commands of infected systems to set up 'bot armies'.

Such formats are suitable to include exploit code and since children use it widely, it poses lot of risk to the PC. Applications used for MP3 music files are susceptible to hackers. So is a speech facility in Microsoft's Xbox Live online video game program, as well as Internet telephony. Audio or video files that may be malware-tainted when uploaded to social networking sites are automatically sent to their members.

Hackers have found this as a new area for attacks. The basic truth prevailing now a days is that companies constructing media players of any type need to be more alert, said Paul Proctor, a research vice president with Gartner Inc. Forbes published this on August 2, 2007.

People should realize that websites are often tempting. Also websites offering material like sex videos very often conceal computer viruses, the researchers suggested.

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