Yet another program is joining Java 6 and Windows XP as big-name software you do not want running on your PC. Security firm Trend Micro and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are advising all Windows users to uninstall Apple’s QuickTime as soon as possible. (The advisory does not affect Mac users.)
The reason for getting rid of QuickTime for Windows is twofold. First, Apple told Trend Micro it is deprecating the software and will no longer deliver security updates for it. Second, there are two known critical vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to take control of a system running QuickTime.
That’s a hellacious combo.
Apple was unavailable for comment at this writing, but a quick look at QuickTime’s download page shows the software is still publicly available. It hasn’t been updated since at least January, however.
Trend Micro says it does not yet know of any instances where the two potential security threats are being used in the wild but that could change. Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative recently published some technical details about the vulnerabilities. ZDI did this because its disclosure policy requires it to publish threat information when a “vendor indicates that the product is deprecated,” and thus won’t be patched.
If you’re a longtime user of iTunes you may be running QuickTime. To dump the program, open the Control Panel on your PC and then from the “category” view go to Programs > Uninstall a program. Once the list of installed programs populates, scroll down until you find QuickTime. Select it with your mouse, and then click Uninstall towards the top of the window. A pop-up window will then appear asking to confirm that you want to uninstall the program. Click Yes and you’ll be QuickTime-free in no time.
A survey published by Secunia Research in late 2015 found that Apple software is among the programs that are updated the least often by Windows users.
Why this matters: Whenever software is about to be abandoned it’s always a good idea to move away from it—or at least start planning to. That goes double for software with known flaws that allow the bad guys to execute code on your machine. QuickTime used to be an important piece of software for Windows users. But these days you don’t need it to watch movie trailers on Apple’s site and it’s no longer used by iTunes to play media on Windows. There’s little reason for the vast majority of Windows users to keep QuickTime on their PCs.