Feeds

Adobe readies critical Reader update

Root cause of PDF complexity hairball remains

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Adobe has promised to release a patch for a critical hole in its Adobe Reader and Acrobat PDF software next Tuesday (5 October).

The updates will address a zero-day cross-platform vulnerability first discovered three weeks ago that creates a possible mechanism for hackers to take over vulnerable PCs. The software developer plans to release Adobe Reader 9.3.4 for Windows, Macintosh and Unix, Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 for Windows and Macintosh, and Adobe Reader 8.2.4 and Acrobat 8.2.4 for Windows and Macintosh next Tuesday a week ahead of its scheduled quarterly update, as explained in an advisory here.

Adobe plugged a related flaw in its Flash Player software with an out-of-sequence patch last week.

Adobe's applications rank second behind software from Microsoft as the favourite target for hackers and malware authors. For all its efforts to improve the patching and security process Adobe is still struggling to keep up its head above water. A big part of the reason for this is the complexity of the PDF format, which allows embedded JavaScript and all sorts of features of questionable utility to genuine users that serve as fodder for hacking attacks.

Anti-virus analyst Paul Baccas of Sophos Labs proposed replaceing PDF with a Safe Document Format during a presentation at the Virus Bulletin conference in Vancover on Thursday. Adobe plans to add sandboxing features to its Reader software, but Baccas said such a move does not go nearly far enough.

Three quarters of the security experts present at the talk agreed with the Sophos analyst in a show of hands, with only an estimated three per cent saying no change was needed. At the least JavaScript support ought to be dropped from PDF, Baccas argued, as explained in a blog post on his talk here. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
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
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.