Vulnerability Note VU#751808

Apple QuickTime remote command execution vulnerability

Original Release date: 13 Sep 2007 | Last revised: 04 Oct 2007


Apple QuickTime contains a vulnerability that may allow an attacker to pass arbitrary commands to other applications.


Apple QuickTime is a media player that is available for Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X. Apple QuickTime includes browser plugins for Internet Explorer, Safari, and Netscape-compatible browsers.

QuickTime includes the ability for developers to control how QuickTime movies are launched, what controls are displayed to the user, and other actions. To specify these parameters, developers can create QuickTime link (.qtl) files. QuickTime link files can be embedded in web pages and launched automatically when a user visits a website.

The qtnext parameter can be used in QuickTime link files to specify the url of a multimedia file to load and play. The multimedia file may be hosted on a web page or stored locally.

Apple QuickTime incorrectly determines the command line used to launch the default web browser on Microsoft Windows systems. Rather than using the ShellExecute method, QuickTime determines the default handler for .HTM files and then crafts its own command line for the registered application. Any protective flags in the registered file handler are stripped out by QuickTime.

Current proof-of-concept code targets systems where Mozilla Firefox is the default handler for .HTM files. Other applications are also affected by this vulnerability, although the impact may vary based on what command line parameters the application accepts.


By convincing a user to open a specially crafted QuickTime file, a remote, unauthenticated attacker may be able execute arbitrary commands on a vulnerable system.


Apple has released an update to address this issue. Mozilla has released Firefox which reduces the impact of this vulnerability.

Restrict access to QuickTime Movies

Until updates can be applied, the following workarounds may mitigate this vulnerability. Some web sites may allow anonymous users to upload QuickTime movies that exploit this vulnerability.

    Workarounds for users
  • Mozilla has released Firefox which may prevent exploitation of this vulnerability by removing Firefox's ability to run arbitrary scripts which are provided by command line arguments. Users are encouraged to upgrade as soon as possible.
  • Using the NoScript Firefox extension to whitelist web sites that can run scripts and access installed plugins will mitigate this vulnerability. See the NoScript FAQ for more information.
  • Running Firefox with a limited user account may prevent an attacker from accessing or overwriting files that the limited user account does not have write access to.

    Workarounds for administrators
  • Proxy servers or intrusion prevention systems may be able to filter QuickTime files and partially mitigate this vulnerability. Note that this workaround is not likely to mitigate or stop all attack vectors.

Systems Affected (Learn More)

VendorStatusDate NotifiedDate Updated
Apple Computer, Inc.Affected12 Sep 200704 Oct 2007
MozillaAffected12 Sep 200720 Sep 2007
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 disclosed by pdp on the GNUCITIZEN website.

This document was written by Ryan Giobbi and Will Dormann.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CVE-2007-4673
  • Date Public: 12 Sep 2007
  • Date First Published: 13 Sep 2007
  • Date Last Updated: 04 Oct 2007
  • Severity Metric: 35.11
  • Document Revision: 51


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