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Unpatched PDF flaw harnessed to launch targeted attacks

Adobe software pwned by crackers, again

Application security programs and practises

Adobe is investigating reports of unpatched flaws in its Reader and Acrobat software packages.

Zero-day bugs in Adobe Reader and Acrobat have reportedly been exploited by hackers to attack vulnerable systems, in a series of limited (presumably) targeted attacks since 11 December. Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.2 or below are potentially vulnerable to attacks. Successful exploitation creates a means for hackers to inject hostile code onto vulnerable systems, security notification firm Secunia warns.

Adobe has posted a holding statement on its security blog, saying that it is investigating the flaw. It's unclear when a patch might become available.

Shadowserver suggests disabling JavaScript as a workaround, pending the availability of a patch from Adobe.

The latest security problem for Adobe follows the release of a patch for Flash and AIR addressing a previously unpatched vulnerability, released last week. Adobe is planning to publish a patch for a zero-day flaw in Illustrator on 8 January.

The popularity of Adobe software has made it a favoured target for hacking attacks over recent months. Booby-trapped PDF files have become as commonplace as browser exploits in hacking attacks. Part of the problem for this may be that applying Adobe updates is fiddlier and more time consuming than applying Microsoft fixes or patching browser exploits. Vulnerable ActiveX components can easily get left behind during updates, for example. ®

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