Microsoft Windows Media Player Bitmap Handling Buffer Overflow Vulnerability



Date Discovered

February 14, 2006


Microsoft Windows Media Player is prone to a remote buffer-overflow vulnerability. The vulnerability arises when the application handles a skin file containing a specially crafted bitmap image. This issue can also be triggered by just supplying a malicious bitmap to the application. Note, however, that Windows Media Player is not the default handler for bitmap files. A successful attack can corrupt process memory and result in arbitrary code execution. This may facilitate a remote compromise in the context of the vulnerable user.

Technologies Affected

  • Microsoft Windows 98
  • Microsoft Windows 98SE
  • Microsoft Windows ME
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 10.0
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 7.1
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 8.0
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 9.0
  • Nortel Networks CallPilot 1001rp
  • Nortel Networks CallPilot 3.0.0
  • Nortel Networks Contact Center
  • Nortel Networks Contact Center Express
  • Nortel Networks Contact Center Manager
  • Nortel Networks Contact Center Multimedia
  • Nortel Networks Contact Center Web Client
  • Nortel Networks Enterprise Network Management System
  • Nortel Networks IP Address Domain Manager
  • Nortel Networks IP softphone 2050
  • Nortel Networks MCS 5100 3.0.0
  • Nortel Networks MCS 5200 3.0.0
  • Nortel Networks Symposium Agent
  • Nortel Networks Symposium TAPI Service Provider


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

Deploy network intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for malicious activity.
Deploy NIDS to monitor network traffic for signs of anomalous or suspicious activity. This includes but is not limited to requests that include NOP sleds and unexplained ingoing and outgoing traffic. This may indicate exploitation attempts or activity that results from successful exploitation.

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, especially links to image files that originate from unknown or untrusted users, may reduce the exposure to this issue.

Implement multiple redundant layers of security.
Since this issue may be leveraged to execute code, we recommend memory-protection schemes, such as non-executable stack/heap configurations and randomly mapped memory segments. This tactic may complicate exploitation of memory-corruption vulnerabilities.

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

Microsoft has released updates to address this vulnerability in supported versions of the Windows operating system.



Discovered by Marc Maiffret of eEye.

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