updated 02:15 pm EDT, Tue April 8, 2008
Apple's recent QuickTime 7.4.5 release includes exploit prevention mechanisms designed to block attacks from hackers, according to a recent report from eWeek. QuickTime for Windows Vista now features ASLR (address space layout randomization), technology that randomly arranges key data addresses to prevent developers of malware from predicting targets. ASLR is already used by Mac OS X Leopard to reduce the effectiveness of exploit attempts.
QuickTime 7.4.5 also includes a patch that fixes an issue related to the SHA-1 checksum, which is related to protecting files with 160-bit encryption. Also included are stack buffer safety checking (-fstack-protector to gcc) and function call hardening, may work to prevent buffer overflows.
eWeek quotes Dino Dai Zovi, a hacker who has written multiple exploits for QuickTime: "That's a pretty big change for a point release. They [Apple] have way more guts than many other software companies to do something like that. Either that, or they are afraid of the backlash if malware starts targeting QuickTime and iTunes in a more serious way."