QuickTime-Safe Installers Released for UltraKey for Windows
As shared earlier, the media and even some government agencies, have advised people to remove QuickTime from their computers immediately. This is an unfortunate reaction to Apple's announcement that it is no longer supporting QuickTime. Unfortunate because it is not necessary to remove QuickTime altogether. This blog announces our immediate response with new QuickTime-Safe UltraKey Windows installers, and explains why this change is sufficient to protect our customers.
QuickTime has two groups of elements: the media handling capability it adds to Windows systems, and the applications it provides for users. The vulnerability lies with the applications, QuickTime Player and the QuickTime browser plug-in. Browser vendors are removing the plug-in. The balance of any vulnerability is addressed by deleting the QuickTime Player. Nobody has to remove the QuickTime system capability but this is what happens when they remove QuickTime using its standard uninstaller.
The player is found on most Windows computers in C:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime.
Deleting the Player manually, addresses the vulnerability for the following reason: In order for any damage to occur to a person's computer, the user has to visit an untrusted web site, download a movie that has been created with some internal malicious QuickTime commands, and then play the movie using QuickTime Player. No player, no problem.
Like many leading Windows products, UltraKey uses the QuickTime system capability, not the QuickTime Player. UltraKey only loads its own safely created movies, and plays them directly.
The new QuickTime-Safe Windows installers for UltraKey, install QuickTime without its Player or the plugin, thus providing the benefit of QuickTime without the threat.
To access the new installers, re-access the original download links you were provided when you purchased your UltraKey license. Coincidentally, we have just launched a new web site and we are still re-directing the old links. If you have a link that generates an error, change www.bytesoflearning.com to downloads.bytesoflearning.com.
Parents and others who have custom downloads, it will take a few more days to prepare new installers. The safe installers have been released are so far only for standard downloads.
Before running the safe UltraKey installer, remove QuickTime by locating Uninstall QuickTime in the QuickTime collection in your apps directory. If you don't, the UltraKey installer will assume you have QuickTime and don't want it touched.
Once QuickTime is removed, run the new UltraKey installer. If you have our latest version of UltraKey already, the installer will offer to repair the UltraKey installation. Run the Repair option. Nothing will be affected except to install the latest version of QuickTime. If you have an older build of UltraKey, then run the Update option.
Enterprise managers can do a mass remove of QuickTime and a mass re-install of UltraKey. This will restore QuickTime in a safe state. Please see your setup guide and look for Network and Multi-computer Assistant.
At Bytes of Learning, we take all security issues seriously, which is why we have issued new installers so quickly. Our next major release of UltraKey will not use QuickTime, because it is now officially unsupported and it is time to move on.
Considering that QuickTime has been a solid Windows enhancement for over 15 years, and considering we have as yet not had a customer with a security problem arising from its use, we think a calm level-headed approach to its eventual removal is the better way.
Art Willer, President, Bytes of Learning.