Feeds

Critical Adobe Reader vuln under 'targeted' attack

No patch till Tuesday

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.