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RIM warns over PDF peril

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Research In Motion (RIM) has warned of a vulnerability in how BlackBerry servers handle malformed PDF files that potentially leaves the door open to hacking attacks.

If corporate users of BlackBerry mobile devices are tricked into opening an email message with a booby-trapped PDF attachment, it might be possible to inject hostile code onto a vulnerable server running the BlackBerry Attachment Service, RIM warns.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server software version 4.1 Service Pack 3 (4.1.3) through 5.0 and BlackBerry Professional Software 4.1 Service Pack 4 (4.1.4) are affected. RIM has issued an an interim security software update as explained in an advisory here.

The Canadian firm is also advising customers to disable PDF file processing on the BlackBerry server, as a workaround, pending the application of a more complete fix.

The incident is far from unprecedented, but it underlines the threat unpatched PDF and Microsoft Office applications increasingly pose to corporate security, beyond the better-known threats posed by unpatched browser applications. ®

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