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I know there are dozens of audio players for windows, but which one has:

  • the best security record (least reported vulnerabilities)
  • the least number of security exploits
  • the best security implementation, along with the reasoning behind the implementaiton (i.e. how it is handled).

As Windows users start to see more and more reports of media-based attacks against Windows Media Player (& co.) it would be useful to have a player that has some proactive security approaches to handling exploits.

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VLC seems to top the list. Vote given to the answer that specifically targeted it. –  Avery Payne Jul 17 '09 at 5:36

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'm not sure as far as "best security record" goes, but VLC tops my list. Version 1.0 has also been released recently and it's open source, meaning people can assist in finding vulnerabilities and collaboratively improve the software.

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This is slightly redundant: but if your media player isn't talking to the internet, you're closing a major attack vector. Do you really need cover art? If not, turn it off. Do you really need CD track titles? If not, turn it off. Every piece you turn off makes you a little safer.

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+1, good point. Each of those attack vectors can be stopped. But what happens when you play an encoded mp3 from a CD that was infected from the factory? Hence, the question. –  Avery Payne Aug 17 '11 at 17:47

Please note there is no such thing as a secure piece of software. Also, just using a different media player does not protect you against all risk. All a malicious website / program would have to do is instantiate a Windows Media Player Active X control (trivial to do) and pass in the payload in order to exploit a vulnerability.

Your best bet is to

1) stay current with security patches for all your installed progams and Windows Updates,

2) run a good firewall, antivirus and antispyware program,

3) be sensible about what you open and where you navigate online.

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Also, using a sandbox might help. Sandboxie is free: sandboxie.com –  Nathaniel Apr 1 '10 at 17:29

Foobar2000 has been my player of choice for quite a long time. Simple player, or because of its extensive plugin support, as complicated as you want it. I have never heard of any security exploits for it specifically, but if there are any known, the developers will probably address them right away.

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I would say an open source player would be your best bet.

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