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Adobe plans emergency patch for critical Reader bug

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Adobe plans to release an emergency update patching a critical vulnerability in its ubiquitous Reader application that was disclosed at last week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

The fix will be made available during the week of August 16 for Windows, Mac OS X, and Unix versions of Adobe Reader 9.3.3, company officials said on Thursday. It will patch a hole that security researcher Charlie Miller disclosed during a talk demonstrating a tool called BitBlaze, which streamlines the analysis of crash bugs. Adobe has rated the vulnerability as critical because it can be exploited with little user interaction to remotely execute malicious code on a targeted system.

The announcement suggests that Adobe's security team is getting faster at responding to reported vulnerabilities. Over the past year, Reader has seen a string of unpatched vulnerabilities that have taken weeks to patch, even when the bugs are actively being exploited in the wild. And even then, updates often were available only for Windows, forcing Mac and Unix users to wait weeks for their patches.

Adobe has also pledged to add a security sandbox to the next major upgrade of Reader, a feature designed to mitigate the damage hackers can cause when software bugs are discovered.

There are no reports that that bug Miller disclosed is being exploited, but Adobe is going to release the patch outside of its next security update scheduled for October 12 anyway. We're guessing the out-of-band fix was prompted by several slides from his presentation that provided details that could make attacks possible. The vulnerability is indexed as CVE-2010-2862.

More from Adobe is here and here. ®

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