Feeds

Adobe: critical Acrobat flaw fix 4 weeks away

Batten down the hatches

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Users of Adobe's Acrobat and Reader programs have a full four weeks to fret over a critical flaw that's being exploited in the wild to install malware on vulnerable machines.

Adobe said on Wednesday it would issue an update that plugs the hole on January 12, the same day Microsoft is slated to release its next installment of security fixes. The announcement came as the exploit was added to the open-source Metasploit framework for penetration testers. If white hat hackers can replicate the attack, it stands to reason that black hats, who stand to profit much more, can't be far behind.

Brad Arkin, Adobe's director of product security and privacy, said here that his team considered issuing an out-of-cycle patch sooner. The team ultimately decided against that option because a fix wouldn't be ready for two to three weeks and would "negatively impact the timing" of the already scheduled January 12 update.

"The delay an out-of-cycle security update would force on the regularly scheduled quarterly release represents a significant negative," Arkin wrote. "Additionally, an informal poll we conducted indicated that most of the organizations we talked with were in favor of" waiting until January 12.

In the meantime, users should configure their programs to disable javascript. This can be done in Reader by opening up preferences, selecting the javascript tab and unchecking the box that says "Enable Acrobat javascript." Remember, there's no compelling reason for ever allowing javascript in Acrobat, and the computer you save may be your own.

Adobe has also released a javascript Blacklist Framework that provides customers granular control over the execution of specific javascript commands. No doubt, installation will be beyond what the Aunt Mildreds of the world will be able to fathom, but average Reg readers shouldn't have much trouble.

In the past, PDF exploits have managed to succeed even when javascript is disabled, and it wouldn't be surprising if that was the case this time around. Truly paranoid users may want to dump reader in favor of of an alternative such as Foxit. They're not immune to security exploits, either, but they're a much smaller target. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.