Vulnerability Note VU#361181

Helix Player format string vulnerability

Original Release date: 28 Sep 2005 | Last revised: 04 Oct 2005


Helix Player, and media players based on the Helix Player, contain a format string vulnerability that may allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.


Helix Player is used to play various types of media files on UNIX systems. The Helix Media Player contains a format string vulnerability in the routines that handle media files. A remote attacker can exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user to access a specially crafted media file, such as a realpix (*.rp) or realtext (*.rt) file. In addition, web browsers can be configured to automatically launch the Helix Player when media content is encountered, thus an attack may be triggered by visiting a malicious website.

This issue also affects media players based on the Helix Player, including Real Player for Linux systems. Note there is publicly available exploit code for this vulnerability.


A remote attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the Helix Media Player process.



This vulnerability was corrected in Helix Player 1.0.6 and Real Player 10 for Linux.

Do not access media files from untrusted sources

Accessing media files from trusted or known sources only will reduce the chances of exploitation.

Disable Helix Player or Real Player for Linux support in the web browser

Configuring a web browser to not automatically launch the Helix Player when media content is encountered will reduce the chances of exploitation.

Systems Affected (Learn More)

VendorStatusDate NotifiedDate Updated
Debian LinuxAffected-30 Sep 2005
RealNetworks, Inc.Affected-30 Sep 2005
Red Hat, Inc.Affected-29 Sep 2005
If you are a vendor and your product is affected, let us know.

CVSS Metrics (Learn More)

Group Score Vector
Base N/A N/A
Temporal N/A N/A
Environmental N/A N/A



This vulnerability was reported by c0ntexb.

This document was written by Jeff Gennari.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CAN-2005-2710
  • Date Public: 26 Sep 2005
  • Date First Published: 28 Sep 2005
  • Date Last Updated: 04 Oct 2005
  • Severity Metric: 12.58
  • Document Revision: 52


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