We all remember that it was not too long ago when Microsoft had left a huge hole for attackers to exploit in Windows XP. Microsoft corrected the error by releasing a new security update and including it as an important update in the Windows Update service.
Now for the third time, attackers have found a new vulnerability in Windows. This attack only affects Windows XP, Windows 2003 server and Windows 2000. Windows Vista, Server 2008 and surprisingly Windows 7 aren’t affected.
Microsoft has already discovered that the attackers are using the code on many different video websites. The attack starts with a QuickTime video and exploits a problem in the Direct X software that Windows uses in almost everything you do, from watching videos to playing video games.
The hackers are using the code in QuickTime files which is the default video for Apple, but not in Windows. You most likely have QuickTime installed on your PC if you have an iPhone or iPod.
The malicious code is hidden inside video files, and allows the attacker to execute any kind of program he would like on the victim’s personal computer. Then, depending on what the attacker planned to do, they could take over your computer or make all your data disappear.
In order to get infected, you’d have to open an infected QuickTime file. Opening the file allows the hacker to have control of your computer. This virus code could be sent by an attachment in email or posted on any website. You’d just have to click and download the file in order to infect your computer.
According to the developers of QuickTime, QuickTime is not the flawed code, but rather, the code inside Windows that displays the QuickTime movie using Direct X is to blame.
The reason the newer operating systems are not vulnerable to these attacks is that the code was removed when Microsoft began development of Windows Vista.
Microsoft has already released two fixes for this security vulnerability. One is pretty technical and requires the user to edit the system registry. The second is a tool that Microsoft has built to automatically disable this feature.
Microsoft hasn’t released a patch, but said that once they do, users that used the automated tool will automatically have the parser turned back on.