Another botched Windows patch: MS13-057/KB 2803821/KB 2834904

Microsoft hasn't yet acknowledged Win7 patch KB 2803821 and WinXP patch KB 2834904, which have spawned complaints about top half of videos displaying in black

It looks like this week's Black Tuesday patches include at least one real stinker: MS 13-057/KB 2803821 has been blamed for problems with recent editions of several products. Until Microsoft pulls the patch -- or acknowledges the problem -- I advise against installing it.

MS 13-057/KB 2803821 is billed as a "security update for Windows Media Format Runtime 9 and 9.5 (wmvdmod.dll), and for Windows Media Player 11 and 12." Microsoft rates the patch as "critical" with an exploitability ranking of 2. It's directed at the vulnerability reported in CVE-2013-3127.

The SANS Internet Storm Center describes the problem as "an input validation problem in Windows Media format (WMV -- Windows Media Player, not to be confused with the infamous WMF format) [that] allows random code execution." According to SANS, there are no publicly known exploits. 

CVE gives more details: "The Microsoft WMV video codec in wmv9vcm.dll, wmvdmod.dll in Windows Media Format Runtime 9 and 9.5, and wmvdecod.dll in Windows Media Format Runtime 11 and Windows Media Player 11 and 12 allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted media file, aka WMV Video Decoder Remote Code Execution Vulnerability."

The patch targets just about every modern version of Windows: Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, and Windows RT.

The problems, and the offending Microsoft patch, were identified as early as Wednesday, July 10. Microsoft has yet to publish any official acknowledgment of the problem or to pull the patch.

These are the problem reports I've been able to find:

  • In Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, the top half of high-quality videos gets chopped off. The problem is most readily visible in the top half of the editing pane, though it appears the file itself is being misinterpreted. Talbot McInnis on the Adobe Premiere Pro forum posted, "We have narrowed it down to Windows updates under MS bulletin MS13-057. Specifically, on XP KB 2834904 and on Windows 7 KB 2803821. For us, it occurs when decoding WMV9 files. Not all uses of WMV decoding are affected, but I confirmed that when connecting the WMV decode DLL to a sample grabber for RGB32 video, the frames arrive black on top, so that points directly to decoding internals of the WMV Decode DLL."
  • In TechSmith's Camtasia Studio, the top half of videos viewed in the playback window get chopped off. TechSmith has issued a detailed analysis and suggests that customers uninstall the patch as a workaround.
  • Serif's MoviePlus X6 has the same behavior.
  • Poster Carlos H describes a very similar situation when saving YouTube videos. It isn't clear if the problem is with saving or with playback.
  • At least one gamer, known as Theshockmaster, also has a similar problem while playing Rome: Total War and Barbarian Invasion.

It will be interesting to see when -- or if -- Microsoft acknowledges and/or fixes the problem.

Thanks to Susan Bradley for the heads-up.

This story, "Another botched Windows patch: MS13-057/KB 2803821/KB 2834904," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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