Microsoft Windows Media Player Remote PNG Image Format Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



Date Discovered

February 8, 2005


A remote buffer overflow vulnerability affects the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) image format processing functionality of Microsoft Windows Media Player. This issue is due to a failure of the application to properly validate the size of image data prior to copying it into static process buffers. An attacker may exploit this issue to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the SYSTEM user. This will facilitate unauthorized access and privilege escalation.

Technologies Affected

  • Microsoft MSN Messenger Service 6.1
  • Microsoft MSN Messenger Service 6.2
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 9.0
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player do not use
  • Microsoft Windows Media Services 9.0 Series
  • Microsoft Windows Messenger
  • Microsoft Windows Messenger
  • Microsoft Windows Messenger 5.0
  • Nortel Networks IP softphone 2050
  • Nortel Networks Mobile Voice Client 2050
  • Nortel Networks Optivity Telephony Manager (OTM)
  • Nortel Networks Symposium Call Center Server (SCCS)


Run all software as a nonprivileged user with minimal access rights.
Non-administrative software should always be run as an unprivileged user with minimal access rights to reduce the impact of latent vulnerabilities.

Do not accept or execute files from untrusted or unknown sources.
Users should be extremely cautious about loading images that originate from potentially malicious or unknown sources. This may reduce the likelihood of exploitation.

Do not follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources.
Refusing to follow all links, including links to image files that originate from unknown or untrusted users may reduce the exposure to this issue.

Do not open email messages from unknown or untrusted individuals.
Refusing to open emails from unknown or untrusted individuals or groups that contain PNG image files may reduce exposure to this issue.

Microsoft has released updated to address this vulnerability in supported versions of the software. Fixes for Windows Media Player on Windows 98/98SE/ME may be obtained through Windows Update. Nortel Networks has released security advisory 2005005516-2 acknowledging this issue. Please see the referenced advisory for further information.



The individual or individuals responsible for the discovery of this issue are currently unknown; the vendor disclosed this issue.

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