Uninstall QuickTime for Windows Now

April 15, 2016 @ 4:30 PM
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2 min read

Trend Micro issued a warning for all Windows users of QuickTime urging them to uninstall the Apple software. Along with this warning, it described two zero-day vulnerabilities in the software that will go unpatched.

A third party announcing what Apple’s intentions are for a major hunk of the company’s software is highly unusual. As of this writing, there has been no official word from Apple concerning this. But a clue can be gleaned from the instructions for uninstalling QuickTime for Windows.

“Most recent media-related programs for Windows — including iTunes 10.5 or later — no longer use QuickTime to play modern media formats,” Apple wrote. “These programs either play the media directly or use the media support built into Windows.” It seems that Apple feels QuickTime is no longer needed, and as a result, it won’t continue to support or update the application.

Zero-Day Vulnerabilities in QuickTime for Windows

But there’s more: Trend Micro also announced newly discovered zero-day vulnerabilities in the media player. Zero-Day Initiative detailed the two issues, ZDI-16-241 and ZDI-16-242, affecting QuickTime for Windows, and Trend Micro claimed that its own products have been protecting against these exploits since November 2015.

So why go public now? “These advisories are being released in accordance with the Zero Day Initiative’s Disclosure Policy for when a vendor does not issue a security patch for a disclosed vulnerability,” the security firm stated on its blog. “And because Apple is no longer providing security updates for QuickTime on Windows, these vulnerabilities are never going to be patched.”

Trend Micro said it is “not aware of any active attacks against these vulnerabilities currently.” Still, it clarified that the only way to ensure security is to uninstall the program before cybercriminals find a way to exploit the permanent vulnerabilities.

QuickTime for Windows follows other software such as Microsoft Windows XP and Oracle Java 6, which are no longer being updated to fix vulnerabilities. That makes them subject to ever-increasing risk as more and more unpatched vulnerabilities are found and cybercriminals attempt to exploit them.

CERT Weighs In

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) amplified the warning about the vulnerability in its own alert. The organization said the impact is potentially damaging to users and their organizations.

“Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to elevated cybersecurity dangers, such as increased risks of malicious attacks or electronic data loss,” US-CERT said. “Exploitation of QuickTime for Windows vulnerabilities could allow remote attackers to take control of affected systems.”

The only thing that users can responsibly do is uninstall QuickTime for Windows — immediately.

Larry Loeb
Principal, PBC Enterprises

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE mag...
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