Check Point Security Labs have warned of a new hacking technique which might gain full control over your system. The technique exploits vulnerabilities of media players by using malicious subtitles. Therefore, if you use an outdated player, pay attention to what you download, as they may corrupt your system.
The report shows that these malicious subtitles can start running code immediately after they are loaded into a media player. Among the players at risk, there are VLC, Popcorn Time, Stremio, or Kodi. If you use one of these, double check your downloads or get your subtitles from trustworthy sources.
Nobody expects subtitles to be malicious, so hackers took advantage of that
People usually regard subtitles as harmless, so neither antivirus programs nor media players pay much attention to them. Hackers noticed this, so they decided to strike where no one would expect. The subtitle formats are not helping, as there are over 25 possible types of subtitles with different properties. Therefore, making a protection to fit all of them would be difficult.
Hackers use the repositories to send malicious files away to users. Also, their subtitles usually have a high ranking, so they are more likely to be chosen by people. Moreover, the media player automatically selects them, so even the most cautious could become victims of such an attack.
The media players have already fixed the issues
Fortunately, Check Point discovered these vulnerabilities and warned the developers of the targeted media players. Some of them have already prepared updates and bug fixes for their players, while others are still investigating on the problem. However, Check Point fears that some other players might be at risk as well.
Hackers have chosen to attack computers by using subtitle files since people usually regard them as harmless. Therefore, they took advantage of their inattention and struck where nobody was expecting. Fortunately, security organizations like Check Point constantly look for vulnerabilities and then seek to resolve them before many people get affected.
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