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Computer Bug and Security News, 6/30/05

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Here are some of the most significant bugs from the past week in the BugBlog. The problem with RealNetworks is probably the most dangerous. Given their frequent security problems and the way they suck down system resources, why do we put up with RealPlayer? Oh yeah, because the alternative is Windows Media Player.

RealNetworks has updated most of their software, to take care of four bugs that may allow attackers to take over your computer. One bug allowed an attack via an MP3 file, another via a RealMedia file, a third via an AVI file, and a fourth which could be used in combination with some versions of Internet Explorer which could allow an attack via an HTML page which could trigger a RealMedia file to play automatically. If you use RealPlayer, RealOne Player, RealPlayer Enterprise, Rhapsody 3 on Windows, Mac or Linux, check out the chart at http://service.real.com/help/faq/security/050623_player/EN/ to see if you are vulnerable. (There are more problems on the Windows platform.)

While other versions of Windows get a service pack, Microsoft seems to empahsize that Windows 2000 is coming to the end of its life cycle by releasing Update Rollup 1 for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, rather than releasing Service Pack 5. You can get it from Windows Update or from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/891861; the latter also shows which previously released security bulletins are included in the rollup.

A particular font on an Apple Mac OS X computer, the Helvetica Fractions font, may cause problems for a number of key applications on the computer. These include Address Book, iChat, Safari and Mail. It may cause overlapping numbers and symbols to appear. If this happens on a Mac OS X 10.3 or later computer, turn off the font in the Font Book. In Mac OS X 10.2.8 or earlier, look for the font in the /Library/Fonts/ or ~/Library/Fonts/ folders, where it may show up as HelveFra or HelveFraBold. Apple says to remove it from these folders, but make sure you leave the regular Helvetica font, which is important.

See the BugBlog for continuing coverage of bugs and other things that go wrong with your computer.

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About Bruce Kratofil