U.S. government tells Windows customers to delete QuickTime due to hacking dangers

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has sent out an urgent alert telling Windows customers to uninstall Apple’s QuickTime program.

Apple has pulled support for QuickTime on Windows, the video and audio software that had once been widely used to play movie trailers and other Internet media clips.

The company decided this week not to issue any more security updates for QuickTime on Windows, despite two major vulnerabilities in the software that can allow hackers into people’s computers.

Apple’s last QuickTime update for Windows came in late January, and the company had been periodically fixing bugs over the past several years.

But Apple (AAPL, Tech30) hasn’t dedicated much effort to QuickTime over the past decade. The last major QuickTime release for Windows was in 2005. Apple delivered a substantial QuickTime upgrade for Mac OS X in 2009, and the company continues to support QuickTime for Mac with regular security updates.

QuickTime for Windows will continue to work, and is curiously still available for download. But Apple and DHS urged Windows customers to uninstall the program.

“Using unsupported software may increase the risks from viruses and other security threats,” DHS said in its alert. “The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows.”

Security company TrendMicro blogged about the QuickTime vulnerability in a post titled “Urgent call to action.”

TrendMicro said it is unaware of any attacks that were made as a result of the QuickTime security bug, but it recommended deleting the program anyway.

Apple has created a page on its website that details how to uninstall QuickTime for Windows.

Over the past several years, QuickTime has largely been replaced by online media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Netflix.

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