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Microsoft Vulnerability Research Advisory MSVR11-003

Vulnerability in RealNetworks RealPlayer Could Allow Remote Code Execution

Published: May 17, 2011

Version: 1.0

Overview

Executive Summary

Microsoft is providing notification of the discovery and remediation of a vulnerability affecting RealNetworks RealPlayer SP version 1.1.4 and earlier and RealPlayer 11.1 and earlier. Microsoft discovered and disclosed the vulnerability under coordinated vulnerability disclosure to the affected vendor, RealNetworks, Inc. RealNetworks, Inc. has remediated the vulnerability in their software.

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that RealPlayer handles multiple instantiations of the RealPlayer ActiveX plug-in in multiple Internet Explorer browser windows. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability, causing the browser to exit unexpectedly, allowing the attacker to execute arbitrary code. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user. If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

Microsoft Vulnerability Research reported this issue to and coordinated with RealNetworks, Inc. to ensure remediation of this issue. The vulnerability has been assigned the entry, CVE-2010-3001, in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list. For more information, including information about updates from RealNetworks, see RealNetworks, Inc. Releases Update to Address Security Vulnerabilities.

Mitigating Factors

  • In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a Web site that contains a Web page that is used to exploit this vulnerability. In addition, compromised Web sites and Web sites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. In all cases, however, an attacker would have no way to force users to visit these Web sites. Instead, an attacker would have to convince users to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link in an e-mail message or Instant Messenger message that takes users to the attacker's Web site.
  • An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Advisory Details

Purpose and Recommendation

Purpose of Advisory: To notify users of a vulnerability and its remediation.

Advisory Status: Advisory published.

Recommendation: Review the Suggested Actions section and configure as appropriate.

Issue References

For more information about this issue, see the following references:

ReferenceIdentification
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures CVE-2010-3001

Affected and Non-Affected Software

This advisory discusses the following software.

Affected Software
RealNetworks RealPlayer SP version 1.1.4 and earlier
RealNetworks RealPlayer versions 11.0 and 11.1
Non-Affected Software
RealNetworks RealPlayer SP version 1.1.5

What is the scope of this advisory? 
This advisory is part of a coordinated release with affected vendors to inform customers of a security issue that may affect their systems.

Is this a security vulnerability that requires Microsoft to issue a security update? 
No. This vulnerability has been fixed via an update from the affected third-party vendor. The update remediates the software listed in the table, Affected Software.

What is the scope of the vulnerability? 
This is a remote code execution vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

What causes the vulnerability? 
The vulnerability exists in the way that RealPlayer handles multiple instantiations of the RealPlayer ActiveX plug-in in multiple Internet Explorer browser windows. This causes the browser to exit unexpectedly, allowing the attacker to execute arbitrary code.

What might an attacker use this vulnerability to do? 
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as a logged-on user. If the user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability? 
An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a specially crafted Web page. When a user views the Web page, the vulnerability could allow remote code execution. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user. If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

  • Apply the vendor-supplied updates or upgrade to a version that is not affected by this vulnerability.

    For more information, including information about updates from RealNetworks, Inc., see RealNetworks, Inc. Releases Update to Address Security Vulnerabilities.
  • Set the kill bit for the RealNetworks RealPlayer ActiveX Control plug-in as a workaround.

    If you are unable to install the vendor-supplied update, you can manually set the kill bit for CLSID {FDC7A535-4070-4B92-A0EA-D9994BCC0DC5}, using the directions in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 240797.

    Impact of workaround. Internet Explorer does not instantiate RealPlayer to play audio or media files.

Other Information

Acknowledgments

Microsoft thanks the following:

Disclaimer

The information provided in this advisory is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.

Revisions

  • V1.0 (May 17, 2011): Advisory published.

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