Public Vulnerability Reports

Buffer Overflow in Windows QuickTime Player



QuickTime Player is a popular media player for both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac platforms.  More information about the application is available at .


An exploitable buffer overflow condition has been discovered in Apple Computer Inc.'s QuickTime Player, allowing for the remote execution of arbitrary code. The vulnerability lies in the processing of long QuickTime URL's (quicktime:// or through the -u switch). When processing a QuickTime URL, the application is launched in the following manner as can be seen from the Windows registry key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/quicktime:

%PATH TO QUICKTIME%QuickTimePlayer.exe -u"%1"

A URL containing 400 characters will overrun the allocated space on the stack overwriting the saved instruction pointer (EIP). This will thereby allow an attacker to redirect the flow of control. An example URL that will cause QuickTime player to crash is:


Where the character 'A' is repeated 400 times.


Any remote attacker can compromise a target system if he or she can convince a user to load a specially crafted exploit URL. Upon successful exploitation, arbitrary code can be executed under the privileges of the user who launched QuickTime. 


iDEFENSE has confirmed that QuickTime Player versions 5.x and 6.0 for the Microsoft Windows platform are vulnerable. QuickTime for MacOS is not vulnerable.


Removing the QuickTime handler from the web browser or removing the registry key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/quicktime can prevent automatic exploitation through HTML pages.


Apple has released QuickTime 6.1 which addresses this vulnerability.  It is available from .


The Mitre Corp.'s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Project assigned the identification number CAN-2003-0168 to this issue.


01/16/2003 Issue disclosed to iDEFENSE
02/24/2003 iDEFENSE notification sent to
02/24/2003 Response received from Apple Product Security team
02/24/2003 iDEFENSE clients notified
03/31/2003 Coordinated Public disclosure


Texonet ( is credited with discovering this vulnerability.