Feeds

Critical Adobe Reader vuln under 'targeted' attack

No patch till Tuesday

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized 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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.