Feeds

Adobe readies critical Reader update

Root cause of PDF complexity hairball remains

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
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
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.