Windows users are being told this week to immediately uninstall Apple’s QuickTime video player.
That warning comes from the US Department of Homeland Security, which made the announcement in partnership with a top cybersecurity firm.
The warning claims that two serious bugs have been found in the QuickTime video player that significantly compromise the security of your Windows computer.
In a blog post published last week, leading PC security firm Trend Micro said that Apple was no longer updating its QuickTime video player for Windows despite the presence of serious bugs.
Thus, the un-updated video player could be used as a weak point through which an attacker could launch malware or viruses onto a PC.
Apple has not yet commented on the matter and does not appear to be offering any solutions for the vulnerabilities.
The QuickTime vulnerabilities are so severe that all it takes is one unsuspecting Windows user visiting an infected web page or opening a tainted file. If you click on a link to an infected website, your computer could immediately be compromised through QuickTime.
That’s why uninstalling QuickTime is so important.
No Cases Have Been Reported Thus Far
In their initial blog post, Trend Micro claims it is not aware of any cases where bugs have been exploited by hackers thus far. However, that doesn’t mean that threats are non-existent.
The warning does not apply to QuickTime on Mac operating systems.
The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) released a similar alert after Trend Micro’s blog post appeared online, warning Americans that their Windows PC could be vulnerable to viruses and online threats due to QuickTime security flaws.
US-CERT summed up the problem by stating that:
“The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows.”
Apple, awkwardly enough, has not yet made any statement on this serious matter. Although they’ve been known to take a long time to respond to security threats (see the Flashback or Shellshock exploit stories for a great example).
How to Uninstall QuickTime from Windows
Uninstalling QuickTime is easy. Open your Start menu and type in “Programs and Features”, then click on the first link that pops up.
This will display all of the software currently installed on your system. You may notice that iTunes has automatically installed QuickTime on your computer. If that’s the case, immediately uninstall QuickTime. Click on the QuickTime link, then find the Uninstall button to immediately cleanse your computer.
Fortunately, modern versions of iTunes do not force you to bundle the software with QuickTime.
So far, iTunes does not appear to have been compromised by these security flaws. Stay tuned to the Fix My PC Free blog for more updates on this story as we move forward.