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How to Protect Yourself Against Vulnerabilities in Media Players

Multimedia players are a commonly used application for storing and using music, video, and image files. Almost every PC operating system is equipped with a media player software package for downloading entertainment, news clips, and educational content form the Internet.

Third Party Applications

In addition to media player software there are also third party applications that you can download for media application uses that are not supported by the preinstalled media player software. These are media applications that are generally installed only as they are needed however, often the installation can be automatic and accompany the media content that is requested for download. IT administrators often become unaware that the support applications are present due to automatic installation, so they fail to provide patch updates for any vulnerabilities that occur.  This opens up third party applications to a malware attack.

How to Protect Your PC

The best way to protect your PC against media player vulnerabilities is to consistently upgrade with the most recent patches to repair any security holes in the software. You can also wait for a reasonable period of time after a new version is released. By this time, vulnerabilities have been discovered and patch upgrades have been created.

There are also other precautions you can take to protect your PC against vulnerabilities which include:

  • Configuration Adjustment: Sometimes the default security settings on operating systems and browsers are set to allow automatic installation of supporting applications for media downloads. Make sure you configure these settings to disallow automatic installations of this type of software.
  • Review Operating System Files: Review all of the files on your PC's operating system to ensure that there is no optional media player software that is unnecessary. Although these applications are never used, they still represent a vulnerability threat that hackers can exploit to download malware into your operating system.
  • Use Antivirus Programs: Use an antivirus program from a reputable vendor and make sure it includes an anti-malware and anti-adware program. Additionally, make sure the program is capable of checking for virus updates and scanning your operating system on a regular basis.
  • Limit Software Installation: If the media player is included in PCs that are on a network, it is a good idea to limit additional software installations by end users. Doing so will improve patch managements updates and make it easier to scan the system for vulnerabilities.
  • Install Media Players Only When Necessary: If you are managing a networked environment, limit the installation of media players only where they are required to complete a work task. This will reduce the chances of vulnerability attacks and make the system management a lot easier.

Finally, use caution when downloading files to a media player and try to determine if their origin is from a trusted source. Use good judgment before downloading anything and if it does not seem legitimate, click away from the site and move on.

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