RealNetworks has issued security patches to fix four critical vulnerabilities in its RealPlayer media player.
The flaws allow remote hackers to use RealPlayer as a way to take complete control of a user’s PC.
The problems exist in both current and some older releases of RealPlayer. Some of the bugs are also found in RealNetwork’s Rhapsody 3 music service.
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Attackers can exploit the flaws using malicious media files accessed by users.
The threats are serious in terms of the number of users affected. The BBC website for instance, one of the most popular sites in the UK, requires users to have RealPlayer installed to access streamed video content.
RealNetworks played a key role in getting the European Commission to bring a competition case against Microsoft, claiming that Microsoft unfairly bundled Windows Media Player in its Windows operating system to the detriment of competitors.
The patches are available to download from the RealNetworks website.