Real Networks has fixed four serious security vulnerabilities in its Real, Rhapsody and Helix media players.
Two of the security holes put users at risk of buffer overflow attacks just by playing a media file.
The first vulnerability uses the .avi movie file format to overwrite a compromised PC's heap memory, which in turn allows hackers to take control of a system.
The vulnerability can be triggered by a webpage containing a movie configured to start playing automatically, according to an advisory from eEye, the security consultancy that first reported the vulnerability. It ranks the severity as 'high'.
A hacker could also entice a user to play a movie by promising 'appealing' content.
The flaw affects most RealPlayer software for Windows as well as Rhapsody, which is used for Real's subscription music service.
A similar attack method can be used to exploit another flaw in RealPlayer for OS X, Windows and Linux as well as the Helix Player for Linux.
The method uses a flaw in RealText that is part of the RealMedia file format, which again allows a hacker to take over a system, security experts from iDefense warned in a security advisory.
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