"In July, 2003, the CERT Coordination Center reported a
dangerous set of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows' DirectX MIDI
Library. The DirectX MIDI library is a low-level Windows library
for playing music stored in the MIDI format. Unfortunately, this
library failed to check all the data values inside MIDI files;
incorrect data values for the fields 'text,' 'copyright,' or 'MThd
track' in a MIDI file could cause the library to fail and attackers
could exploit the failure to make the system run any code they
wanted. This was especially dangerous, because Internet Explorer,
when it viewed a Web page with a link to a MIDI file, would
automatically load the file and try to play it. The result? An
attacker could simply post a Web page that when viewed would make
the browsing user's computer erase all its files, send all its
confidential files elsewhere by e-mail, crash, or do whatever else
the attacker wanted.
"In nearly all secure programs, your first line of defense is to
check every piece of data you receive. If you can keep malicious
data from entering your program, or at least keep it from being
processed, your program becomes much harder to attack. This is very
similar to how firewalls protect computer networks from attackers;
it won't prevent all attacks, but it does make a program much more
resistant. This process is called checking, validating, or
filtering your data..."
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