Security researchers are warning that popular media players offered by Microsoft and AOL are vulnerable to attacks that can completely compromise a user's PC.
Attack code has already been released for the bug, which has been confirmed in a codec used by older versions of Windows Media Player, made by Microsoft, and in AOL's Winamp. A Symantec researcher has warned that users of other players may also be at risk because the vulnerability itself resides in a commonly used MP4 codec produced by a company called 3ivx Technologies.
"The exploit works by supplying victims with a maliciously formed MP4 file," Raymond Ball wrote for Symantec's DeepSight Threat Management System. "When a victim unknowingly clicks a link that appears safe, the MP4 content is delivered, causing the exploit to run."
A researcher who goes by the name SYS 49152 released exploit code here, here and here that targets Windows Media Player 6.4 and Windows Media Player Classic, which are made by Microsoft, and AOL's Winamp version 3.5. Each uses the 3ivx MP4 codec, which is vulnerable to a stack overflow.