Alert: Uninstall Apple Quicktime

Using Windows? Ditch Quicktime

If you run Windows and haveQuickTime installed iTunes at any point, Apple QuickTime probably came along with it.  Last week, Apple announced it will no longer support or update QuickTime for Windows, but it leaves two gaping security holes unpatched.

The Department of Homeland Security advises Windows users to uninstall QuickTime to mitigate the security risk.  Security firm TrendMicro states:

We’re putting the word out that everyone should follow Apple’s guidance and uninstall QuickTime for Windows as soon as possible. …our Zero Day Initiative has just released two advisories ZDI-16-241 and ZDI-16-242 detailing two new, critical vulnerabilities affecting QuickTime for Windows. These advisories are being released in accordance with the Zero Day Initiative’s Disclosure Policy for when a vendor does not issue a security patch for a disclosed vulnerability. And because Apple is no longer providing security updates for QuickTime on Windows, these vulnerabilities are never going to be patched.Christopher Budd, Trend Micro Global Threat Advisor

Both advisories cited by TrendMicro (ZDI-16-241 and ZDI-16-242) allow a hacker to execute malicious code on a person’s computer – that means someone could use these security holes to install a virus, keylogger or ransomware on your PC.

These advisories apply only to the Windows version of QuickTime, not the Mac version. Note that this exploit is for the player only, not the codecs themselves.

In truth, most Windows users probably no longer even need QuickTime, as other media players abound that can do everything QuickTime could do.  The main issue is that it was once a video player standard and, as such, has a tremendous install base. It also remains to be seen how this will affect users of audio and video editing software, some of which (such as Adobe Premiere) have QuickTime dependencies.

To uninstall, go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features (if you don’t see Programs and Features, you are probably looking at Control Panel in “Category” view, in which case you can click on “Uninstall a Program” near the bottom left).  Scroll down the list and find Apple QuickTime, highlight it and click “Uninstall.”

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