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DirectX flaws put Windows systems at risk

Two security bugs in DirectX, part of the Windows operating system providing multimedia support, could allow an attacker to gain control over computers running it, Microsoft warned.

DirectX is flawed in the way it checks MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) music files, Microsoft said in security bulletin MS03-030.

An attacker could take advantage of the flaws by hosting a specially crafted MIDI file on a website or sending that file in an HTML e-mail.

DirectX is part of most supported versions of Windows, including Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows 2000. Exceptions are Windows NT 4.0 and Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition, which are only vulnerable if Windows Media Player 6.4 or Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 is installed.

Versions of DirectX from 5.2 up to 9.0a are affected, according to Microsoft. Patches to fix the problem are available on Microsoft's security website as is DirectX 9.0b, the latest version of the software that includes the security fix.

The DirectX issue is rated "critical", which means that Microsoft urges customers to patch up immediately.

Microsoft issued two other security bulletins, MS03-031 and MS03-029. These bulletins warn of less serious flaws in several SQL Server database products and in Windows NT 4.0 Server.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service


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