Feeds

Critical Adobe Reader vuln under 'targeted' attack

No patch till Tuesday

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Attackers once again are targeting an unpatched vulnerability in Adobe Reader that allows them to take complete control of a user's computer, the software maker warned.

Adobe said it planned to patch the critical security bug in Reader and Acrobat 9.1.3 for Windows, Mac and Unix on Tuesday, the date of the company's previously scheduled patch release for the PDF reader. According to Security Focus here, attackers can exploit the vulnerability by tricking a user into opening a booby-trapped PDF file.

"Successful exploits may allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of a user running the affected application," the security site warned. "Failed attempts will likely result in denial-of-service conditions."

The bug is presently being exploited in "limited targeted attacks," Security Focus added, without elaborating. Adobe said only that the attacks target Reader and Adobe running on Windows operating systems.

Those using Windows Vista with a feature known as data execution prevention enabled are safe from the exploit. Users on other platforms can insulate themselves from the current attack by disabling javascript from running inside the application, but Adobe warned it's possible to design an exploit that works around that measure.

(To do so, choose Preferences from Reader's Edit menu, highlight javascript and then uncheck the box that says "Enable Acrobat JavaScript.")

The company said it's working with anti-virus providers so their software can detect the PDF files that target the bug.

This is at least the third time this year that criminals have targeted an unpatched vulnerability in Adobe Reader or Flash, which arguably are installed on a larger base of machines than any Microsoft software. The company has taken flak not just for releasing buggy programs, but for taking too long to fix security flaws once they're discovered. The company in May promised to reinvigorate its security program for Reader. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes
That's not the website you're looking for
ISIS terror fanatics invade Diaspora after Twitter blockade
Nothing we can do to stop them, says decentralized network
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.